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THE  desire  which  has  been  repeatedly  expressed  by 
persons  cognizant  of  its  existence,  that  the  important 
and  interesting  manuscript  left  by  Gouverneur  Morris 
should  be  brought  to  light — the  portion  buried  in  Mr. 
Jared  Sparks's  history  as  well  as  the  large  and  more 
piquant  part  excluded  therefrom — induced  me  to  under 
take  the  work  of  editing  the  diary  and  letters  of  my 

The  chief  object  I  had  in  view  was  to  put  in  such  a 
form  as  might  prove  attractive  to  the  public  his  letters 
and  the  notes  which  he  daily  jotted  down  during  that 
most  momentous  epoch  of  modern  history — the  period 
of  the  Revolution  in  France. 

With  no  political  principles  to  advance  or  maintain, 
and  with  no  hero  of  romance  or  of  the  sword  upon 
whose  merits  to  descant,  my  effort  was  simply  to  cull, 
from  a  voluminous  manuscript,  all  the  varied  and  striking 
incidents  in  the  world  of  politics  in  the  cabinet,  and  of 
society  in  the  boudoir  and  salon  ;  and,  by  the  light  of  the 
keen  delineations  of  character,  so  full  of  the  verve  and 
essence  of  the  moment,  therein  contained,  to  bring  into 
strong  relief  the  motives  and  actions  of  men  and  women. 


Americans  will  doubtless  accord  a  ready  sympathy  to 
a  man  who  was  truly  an  American,  and  at  a  time  when 
thus  to  proclaim  his  principles  attested  an  independence 
careless  of  unpopularity.  Possibly,  too,  our  kindred  over 
seas  may  find  something  of  interest  in  the  career  of  one 
who,  though  a  rebel  against  England,  spent  the  best 
years  of  his  life  assisting  in  the  formation  of  a  govern 
ment  under  which  the  poor  of  the  earth  might  find  an 
asylum,  and  whose  views  were  consistently  "  favorable 
to  the  peace  and  happiness  of  mankind." 


Old  Morrisania,  October,  1888. 



Gouverneur  Morris.  Birth.  Education.  Graduates  at  King's  College. 
Studies  law.  Licensed  to  practise.  Early  development  of  a  taste 
for  finance,  Takes  an  active  part  in  the  events  which  ended  in  the 
Declaration  of  Independence.  Elected  a  member  of  the  first  Pro 
vincial  Congress  in  1775.  Speaks  on  finance.  Leads  in  debates  in 
the  New  York  Congress.  Draws  up  instructions  for  Franklin,  then 
Minister  to  France.  Reports  to  Congress  on  the  subject  of  a  treaty 
with  the  British  Commissioners.  Practises  law  in  Philadelphia.  Ap 
pointed  assistant  to  the  Superintendent  of  Finance.  Practises  his 
profession  after  the  war.  Becomes  known  to  the  French  Ministry 
through  a  letter  written  to  the  Marquis  de  Chastellux.  A  delegate 
to  the  Convention  which  formed  the  Constitution.  Sails  for  France 
in  1788,  .  ...  .  .  ...  i  ".  I 


Morris  Lands  at  Havre.  Goes  to  Paris.  Letter  to  the  French  minister 
in  America.  State  of  Paris.  Washington's  commission.  Letter  to 
William  Carmichael.  Society  life.  Madame  de  Chastellux' s  salon 
and  others.  Paris  on  the  eve  of  the  Revolution.  Madame  de  Beau- 
harnais  at  home.  Presented  to  Montmorin.  Meets  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans.  M.  de  Malesherbes.  Letter  to  the  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne. 
Madame  de  Tesse's  Republican  salon.  Hurry  of  life  in  Paris.  Lafa 
yette's  election  in  Auvergne.  Paupers  in  Paris.  Morris's  busy  life. 
Meets  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Pleasant  days  and  evenings  with  charm 
ing  women.  Dines  with  Necker.  Madame  de  Stae'l.  Supper  with  the 
Baron  de  Besenval.  Interview  with  the  Marechal  de  Castries.  Visit 
to  the  statues  at  the  Louvre.  A  day  of  misfortunes,  .  .  19 



Dearth  of  wheat  at  Lyons.  Morris  offers  Necker  a  cargo.  Graciousness  of 
the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Ladies  vexed  by  long  arguments  in  the 
salons.  Ten  thousand  troops  ordered  out.  Swiss  guards  within  the 
barriers.  Necker1  s  fall  desired.  Tete-a-tete  dish  of  tea  with  Madame 
de  Segur.  King  and  princes  oppose  liberty.  Political  talk  with  the 
Bishop  of  Autun.  Makes  a  plan  of  finance  for  France.  Advises  the 
massing  of  the  Swiss  guards  round  the  king's  person.  Election  excite 
ments.  A  water-party  on  the  Seine.  An  eventful  day  at  Versailles. 
Meeting  of  the  States-General.  Magnificent  spectacle.  Mirabeau 
hissed.  The  Duke  of  Orleans  applauded.  Visit  to  Marly.  Madame 
du  Barry.  Madame  de  Segur  at  her  toilet.  Petit-Trianon  Gardens. 
Madame  de  Suze's  lapdog,  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  5 1 


Morris  surprised  at  Parisian  manners  and  customs.  Tea  in  the  Palais 
Royal.  Visit  to  Romainville.  M.  de  Beaujolais.  Morris  writes 
verses  to  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Careless  driving.  Made  a  mem 
ber  of  the  Club  of  Valois.  Interviews  with  Judges.  Note  on  the  to 
bacco  contracts.  The  Dauphin's  death.  States-General  more  than 
ever  embroiled.  Morris  stands  for  Houdon's  statue  of  Washington. 
Strictures  on  the  Bishop  d' Autun.  Visit  to  Raincy.  The  clergy 
join  the  Tiers.  The  Salle  des  Menus  closed.  Bath  in  the  Tennis 
Court.  Great  excitement  in  Paris.  Morris's  sentiments  quoted.  His 
interest  in  France.  Necker  offers  to  resign.  The  mob  at  Versailles. 
Inflammatory  publications  at  the  Palais  Royal.  The  nobles  join  the 
other  orders.  Revolt  among  the  guards.  The  Abbaye  broken  open. 
The  king  terrified,  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  <  .  85 


Grain  under  convoy.  Tumult  in  Paris.  Fourth  of  July  dinner.  Visit  to 
Romainville.  Bread  scarce.  Paris  gay.  The  administration  routed 
and  Necker  banished.  M.  de  Narbonne.  Mobs  in  the  streets.  Ar 
morers'  shops  broken  open.  Scenes  in  the  Palais  Royal  Gardens.  Ter 
rible  night  in  Paris.  The  Hotel  de  P'orce  broken  into.  Morris  dons 
the  green  bow.  No  carriages  allowed  in  the  streets.  Affairs  at  Ver 
sailles.  A  cry  for  arms.  Carriages  stopped  and  searched.  The  Bas 
tille  taken.  Madame  de  Flahaut's  salon.  M.  de  Launay.  Carnival 
at  Versailles.  The  Bastille  in  ruins.  The  king  comes  to  Paris  and 
dons  the  red  and  blue  cockade.  The  procession,  .  .  .ill 



Dinner  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  Artists'  studios.  Dinner  with  Lafay 
ette.  Visit  to  the  Bastille.  The  Club.  Foulon's  head  carried  through 
the  streets.  Making  up  a  foreign  mail.  Madame  de  Montmorin. 
Ideas  respecting  a  constitution  for  France.  Asked  to  consult  with  the 
ministers.  Passport  for  London.  Journey  to  England.  Beggars. 
Impressions  of  England,  ........  133 


London.  The  Haymarket  Theatre.  The  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne.  Trum- 
bull.  The  refugees.  LadyDunmore.  The  Cosways.  Hon.  Mrs. 
Darner.  Society  duties.  Strictures  on  society.  Sail  on  the  Thames. 
Downe  Place.  Returns  to  Paris.  Critical  state  of  affairs.  Madame 
de  Tesse.  Lafayette.  Public 'opinion  sets  against  the  National  As 
sembly.  Finances.  Scarcity  of  bread.  The  Flanders  Regiment. 
Social  life.  Prepares  a  memorandum  on  subsistence.  The  queen. 
Madame  de  Flahaut.  The  banners  blessed.  The  opera.  Resistance 
to  authority  among  the  bakers.  Versailles.  Question  on  the  finances. 
Mirabeau  speaks  in  the  Assembly.  Meets  Madame  de  Stael. 
Conversation  with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Asked  to  furnish  flour  for 
Paris,  .  .  . 145 


The  feast  at  Versailles.  Consternation  at  Paris.  Morris  urges  Lafayette 
to  attach  himself  to  the  king's  party.  Disturbance  in  Paris. 
Church  property  discussed.  Expedition  to  Versailles  proposed  in 
the  Palais  Royal  Gardens.  Excited  state  of  the  people.  Carriages 
stopped  in  the  streets.  Agonizing  night  at  Versailles.  The  royal 
family  brought  to  Paris.  The  heads  of  the  Body-guard  carried 
through  the  streets.  The  royal  family  installed  at  the  Tuileries.  De 
spatches  opened  by  the  mob.  Clermont  de  Tonnerre.  The  Comte 
de  Narbonne  and  Madame  de  Stael.  Dinner  at  Lafayette's.  Conver 
sation  with  Lafayette  on  the  situation  of  France.  Mirabeau.  Madame 
de  Chastellux's  salon.  The  Duchess  of  Orleans.  The  Bishop  of 
Autun  reads  a  motion  to  be  presented  to  the  Assembly.  A  ministry 
arranged,  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .168 


Deputies  demand  passports.  The  streets  alive  with  disorderly  characters. 
Houses  marked  for  destruction.  Unsafe  to  walk  about  Paris.  Necker 


sombre  and  depressed.  Madame  de  StaePs  salon.  The  Duke  of  Or 
leans  leaves  for  England.  Morris  calls  on  Necker,  and  suggests  the 
idea  of  raising  the  price  of  bread.  Letter  to  Lafayette.  The  Duke 
of  Orleans  is  stopped  at  Boulogne.  News  of  insurrections.  Conver 
sation  in  Madame  de  Flahaut's  salon  about  intended  changes  in  the 
ministry.  Lafayette  commits  a  blunder  in  offering  himself  to  Mira- 
beau.  The  Cardinal  cle  Rohan.  Flour  to  be  imported  from  America. 
Graphic  letter  to  Robert  Morris.  Madame  de  Flahaut  disconsolate  over 
the  reduction  in  pensions, 187 


Denis  Frangois  accused  of  secreting  bread  and  beheaded.  Paris  aban 
doned  to  cruelty  and  violence.  Martial  law  passed  by  the  Assembly. 
The  Duke  of  Orleans  liberated.  -He  goes  to  England.  At  the  club. 
Chit-chat  in  Madame  de  Flahaut's  salon.  Belgrade  surrenders.  Anec 
dote  of  the  5th  of  October.  Clermont  de  Tonnerre  proposes  going 
to  America.  Morris  asked  his  plan  for  restoring  order  to  France. 
Necker  unable  to  cope  with  the  difficulties.  Dinner  at  Madame 
Necker's.  Talk  about  Lafayette's  connection  with  Mirabeau  and 
with  Necker  on  plans  for  subsistence.  News  from  Flanders.  Asked 
to  take  part  in  the  administration  of  affairs.  Dines  with  the  Duchess 
of  Orleans.  Takes  the  Bishop  of  Autun  to  visit  Lafayette.  The 
Assembly  suspends  the  parlements.  Criticisms  on  the  society  in  Ma 
dame  de  Stael's  salon.  Lively  dinner  conversation  with  Madame  de 
Stael,  .....  .  .  200 


Exodus  from  the  ranks  of  society.  Many  closed  salons.  Changed  state 
of  feeling.  Necker's  "plan"  for  the  Caisse  d* Escompte.  The  Pope 
quarrels  with  the  farmers-general.  Opposition  to  Necker.  Mirabeau 
describes  the  Assembly.  Lafayette's  ambition.  A  tedious  session. 
Interview  with  Necker.  Tea  at  Madame  de  Laborde's.  Plan  for 
dealing  with  the  American  debt  to  France.  Necker  converses  on  the 
constitution  then  preparing.  The  Bishop  d' Autun  asks  advice  as  to 
speaking  in  the  Assembly.  A  rumor  that  he  is  to  be  appointed  Ameri 
can  Minister  to  the  Court  of  Louis  XVI.  An  evening  in  Madame  de 
Sta  1's  salon.  Tact  of  the  hostess.  Clermont-Tonnerre  reads  a  dis 
course.  Necker  speculates  as  to  the  issue  of  one  hundred  and  thirty 
millions  of  paper  money.  The  Abbe  Delille  reads  his  own  verses 
in  Madame  de  Chastellux's  drawing-room,  .  .....  227 



The  opera.  Gardell  and  Vestris.  Strictures  on  the  character  of  the  peo 
ple  of  France.  The  Caisse  Patriotique  opened.  Paris  gay  with  uni 
forms.  People  sacrifice  their  jewels  for  the  public  benefit.  Morris 
disapproves  of  Necker's  plan  of  finance.  Resolutions  passed  in  the 
Assembly  which  affect  Protestants.  The  public  debt.  The  king's 
brother  goes  to  the  Commons.  Monsieur  and  the  Favras  conspiracy. 
Lafayette  intriguing  deeply.  Morris  makes  punch  for  the  society 
at  Madame  de  Vannoise's.  His  first  suggestion  of  settling  the 
banks  of  the  St.  Lawrence.  Asked  for  information  about  America. 
Ceremony  of  saluting  the  ladies  with  a  kiss  on  New  Year's  eve,  .  250 


Comparison  between  the  newspapers  of  1777  and  1789.  New  Year's  salu 
tations.  Scene  at  the  Chatelet.  Madame  de  Flahaut's  boudoir. 
Stoppage  of  pensions.  Lively  discussion  thereon  in  Madame  de 
StaeTs  salon.  Visit  to  the  Comte  de  Chastellux.  Message  from  the 
Parlement  of  Brittany.  Morris  examines  table  -  ornaments  for 
Washington.  Decree  in  the  Assembly  concerning  office-holding. 
Adherence  to  the  constitution  required.  Riot  in  Paris.  A  handsome 
surtout  for  the  table  sent  to  Washington.  Need  of  cultivating  the  j^-^ 
taste  of  America.  The  Duchess  of  Orleans  obliged  to  economize. 
The  Cardinal  cle  Rohan.  The  Bishop  of  Orleans.  Marmontel. 
Letter  to  Washington.  Morris  writes  a  note  on  the  situation  of 
affairs  for  the  king.  Delivered  to  the  queen  by  her  physician.  Anec 
dote  of  the  king.  He  goes  to  the  Assembly.  Conversation  with 
Lafayette, 262 



Journey  to  Antwerp.  Brussels.  Reflections  on  the  state  of  Flanders. 
Vanderhoot's  committee.  Notes  on  the  cathedral  and  galleries  of 
Antwerp.  Supper  at  M.  Cornelison's.  Agreeable  society  of  Antwerp. 
Notes  during  the  journey  to  Amsterdam.  Evening  in  Madame  Bost's 
salon.  Political  discussions.  Force  of  the  Dutch  navy.  Scene  on 
the  Merchants'  Exchange  at  Amsterdam.  News  from  France  of 
Necker's  resignation.  The  Hague.  The  churches  at  Delft.  Crosses  /^ 
to  England.  Interview  with  the  Duke  of  Leeds  on  the  treaty  and 
despatch  of  a  minister  to  the  United  States.  News  from  Paris. 
Pointed  opposition  to  Necker.  Visits  Sir  John  Sinclair.  Letter  to 


Colonel  Ternant.  Meets  Fox  at  dinner.  Mrs.  Jordan  at  Drury  Lane 
Theatre.  Warren  Hastings's  trial.  Criticism  on  Burke  and  Fox. 
Brilliant  ball  at  Mrs.  John  B.  Church's, 296 


Reticence  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds.  Morris's  letter  to  the  duke.  Letter  to 
Washington.  Undertakes  to  negotiate  for  the  sale  of  American  es- 
'  tates.  Miss  Farren.  The  impressment  of  American  seamen.  In 
terview  with  the  Duke  of  Leeds.  Presented  to  Pitt.  Long  interview 
with  Pitt  and  the  Duke  of  Leeds  relative  to  the  treaty  of  commerce, 
non-payment  of  money  due  by  the  English  Government  to  American 
land-owners,  evacuation  of  the  frontier-posts,  etc.  The  Hastings 
trial.  News  from  Paris.  The  National  Assembly  vote  the  king  an 
allowance.  Abolition  of  the  nobility.  The  Duke  of  Orleans  in  a 
"  whimsical  "  situation.  Great  fete  of  the  federation.  Letter  to  Will 
iam  Short  at  Paris.  Strictures  on  the  young  men  of  London.  Rise 
of  the  Jacobins  in  Paris.  Lafayette's  position  insecure,  .  .321 


Various  undertakings  in  Europe.  Dulness  of  card-playing  in  England. 
Washington  approves  of  Morris's  communications  with  the  ministers. 
Letter  to  Washington  on  French  affairs.  Interview  with  the  Duke  of 
Leeds.  Continental  tour  before  returning  to  Paris.  Civilities  from 
persons  to  whom  he  had  letters.  Difficulties  of  travel  in  1790.  Un 
comfortable  inns  and  bad  roads.  Interview  with  Baron  de  Dolberg. 
Paris  again.  Flatteringly  received  by  the  Comte  de  Montmorin. 
Morris  presents  a  dog  to  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  The  Due  de 
Castries's  hotel  pillaged.  M.  de  Flahaut  wishes  to  go  to  America  as 
minister.  The  play  of  ''Brutus."  Much  excitement  in  the  theatre. 
Dines  with  the  Garde  des  Sceaux.  Apprehends  a  plot  of  the  Em 
peror  for  liberating  the  queen  and  restoring  the  former  government. 
Criticises  the  new  constitution.  Gives  his  opinion  of  the  condition 
of  affairs  to  Lafayette.  The  last  months  of  1790,  .  .  .  342 


Another  trip  to  London.  Stiffness  of  English  society.  Annoying  indiffer 
ence  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds  to  American  interests.  Returns  to  Paris. 
Dines  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Ternant  appointed  Minister 
Plenipotentiary  to  the  United  States.  Conversation  with  M.  de 


Segur.  M.  de  Montmorin  wishes  Morris  appointed  Minister  from 
the  United  States.  Asked  to  confer  wifh  the  Committee  of  Com 
merce.  Dines  with  Lafayette.  Dines  with  Marmontel.  Lafayette 
vexed.  Madame  de  Nadaillac.  The  "farm  "  abolished  by  the  Assem 
bly.  The  tobacco  decrees.  Desired  to  write  a  letter  on  them. 
Letter  to  Washington  thereupon.  Some  details  of  the  affair  of  Octo 
ber  5th  at  Versailles.  Disturbance  in  Languedoc.  Trepidation  of 
the  Bishop  of  Autun.  Great  tumult  in  Paris.  Conversation  with 
Madame  de  Nadaillac.  The  Chateau  during  the  riot.  Lafayette 
confesses  the  guards  were  drunk.  Morris's  advice  to  him,  .  .  369 


The  queen  intriguing  with  Mirabeau.  Morris's  impressions  of  the  Abbe 
Maury.  Madame  de  Nadaillac' s  salon.  Madame  de  Tesse  converted 
«  to  Morris's  political  principles.  Vicq  d'Azyr's  eulogy  of  Franklin. 
Morris  takes  supper  with  Condorcet.  Paris  illuminated.  First  in 
troduction  to  Lady  Sutherland.  Conversation  with  the  Abbe  Maury. 
Death  of  Mirabeau.  Discusses  with  Montmorin  Mirabeau's  succes 
sor.  Mirabeau' s  impressive  funeral.  Strictures  on  his  character. 
Robespierre  comes  to  the  front.  Morris  predicts  to  M.  cle  Mont 
morin  the  speedy  dissolution  of  the  present  Assembly.  A  visit  from 
Paine.  Madame  de  Nadaillac  talks  of  religion  and  duty.  Madame 
de  Flahaut  asks  advice  as  to  marriage.  Morris  prepares  a  note  for 
the  king  on  the  rations  for  the  French  marine.  Madame  de  Stael 
reads  her  tragedy  "  Montmorenci."  Morris  gives  her  some  advice. 
Brilliant  society  in  her  salon, 389 


Shows  M.  de  Montmorin  draught  of  a  letter  devised  as  an  answer  from  the 
king  to  the  department.  The  entours  of  the  king  resign.  Resignation 
of  Lafayette.  Sketch  of  European  politics  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Inglis,  of 
London.  A  republic  becoming  fashionable.  Lady  Sutherland's  gra- 
ciousness.  Lafayette  accepts  the  position  of  head  of  the  National 
Guards.  Montesquiou  asks  Morris  how  to  amend  the  constitution. 
Celebration  of  the  suppression  of  the  octroi.  Conversation  with 
Montmorin.  Madame  de  Nadaillac's  coquettish  character.  Morris 
suggests  to  several  ladies  positions  near  the  queen.  Madame  de  Fla 
haut  expects  one  soon.  Montmorin  weary  of  the  situation.  Visit  to 
Madame  de  Nadaillac,  ........  4°6 



A  visit  to  St.  Cloud.  Departure  for  England.  Visit  to  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans  at  Eu.  London.  The  escape  from  the  Tuileries  and  capt 
ure  at  Metz.  Morris  returns  to  France.  The  Assembly  intend  to 
cover  the  king's  flight.  Madame  de  Lafayette  greatly  excited.  Con 
versation  with  M.  de  Montmorin.  Dinner  with  the  Americans  in 
Paris  on  the  Fourth  of  July.  The  fete  of  Voltaire.  The  king's 
nature  discussed.  Decree  passed  declaring  the  inviolability  of  the 
king.  Lady  Sutherland's  drawing-room.  What  passed  in  the  Champ 
de  Mars.  The  mob  fired  on.  Society  frightened  and  within  doors. 
Letter  to  Robert  Morris.  The  king's  aunts  harangue  the  people  of 
Rome  on  the  king's  escape.  Morris  meets  Lord  Palmerston.  Pro 
nounces  the  French  Constitution  ridiculous.  Consultation  between 
M.  de  Montmorin  and  Morris.  Morris  draws  up  a  memoir e  for  the 
king.  Madame  de  Stael  and  the  Constitution.  Her  opinion  of  the 
memoir  e  Morris  had  prepared  for  the  king.  The  Constitution  pre 
sented  to  the  king,  .  ...  .  .  .  .  .  425 


Convinced  that  Montmorin  withheld  the  memoir  e  until  the  king  had  ac 
cepted  the  Constitution.  Lady  Hamilton.  Festival  of  the  adoption 
of  the  Constitution.  The  opera.  The  king  and  queen  received  with 
applause.  Paris  illuminated.  Letter  to  Washington  on  the  king  and 
the  Constitution.  A  coalition  dinner  with  Madame  de  Stael.  The 
current  of  opinion  against  dropping  the  king's  titles,  Sire  and  Ma- 
jeste.  A  reaction  in  favor  of  the  king.  Supper  at  Madame  de 
Guibert's.  Long  conversation  with  Montmorin,  who  says  he  can  trust 
no  one  but  Morris.  M.  de  Moustier  attests  Morris's  favor  with  their 
majesties.  What  passed  between  the  King  of  Prussia  and  the  Em 
peror  at  Pilnitz.  The  Duke  of  Orleans  declares  his  bankruptcy. 
Much  struggling  for  offices  in  Paris.  Moustier  thinks  Morris  mis 
taken  about  the  Constitution.  M.  de  Montmorin  declares  war 
against  the  newspapers,  .  •  .  .  .  .  .  .  .451 


Desired  to  converse  about  subsistence  at  a  royalist  dinner.  M.  de  Molle- 
ville  tells  him  he  has  proposed  him  as  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs. 
Distress  of  the  Montmorin  family.  Narbonne,  Madame  de  Stael, 
and  the  ministry.  Supper  at  Lady  Sutherland's.  Morris  gives  a 

CONTENTS.  xiii 

dinner.  M.  de  Narbonne  finally  appointed  Minister  of  War.  Vicq 
d'Azyr  says  the  queen  wishes  Morris's  ideas  in  writing  on  the  de 
cree  against  the  princes.  Dinner  at  the  British  ambassador's.  Pre- 
ville  at  the  Comedie  Frangaise.  Sketching  a  form  of  government 
for  France.  Writes  a  philippic  against  the  chefs  des  rtpublicains. 
Letter  to  Robert  Morris  on  the  failure  to  effect  a  commercial  treaty 
with  Great  Britain.  Washington  nominates  Morris  for  the  mis 
sion  to  France.  Confirmed  by  a  very  small  majority  in  the  Senate. 
The  king  m  high  spirits.  Letter  to  Washington  on  the  paper  circu 
lation  of  France  and  the  general  anarchy.  The  Bishop  of  Autun  to 
go  to  England.  The  Jacobins  discover  a  plan  for  violent  change  of 
the  Constitution.  Morris  prepares  for  a  journey  to  England.  Mes 
sage  from  the  queen,  .........  476 


Morris  goes  to  England.  Suspicions  aroused  by  the  suddenness  of  his 
departure.  A  political  significance  given  to  it.  Letter  to  Washing 
ton  from  London.  Morris  hears  in  London  of  his  appointment  as 
Minister  to  France  and  receives  his  credentials.  Letter  to  Robert 
Morris  on  the  difficulties  attending  the  mission  to  France.  Dines 
with  the  Count  de  Woronzow.  Paine's  new  publication.  An  even 
ing  with  the  Duchess  of  Gordon.  Conversation  with  Woronzow. 
Bishop  of  Au tun's  mission  to  England.  Letter  to  Washington  on 
this  subject.  Mrs.  Darner's  studio.  She  is  at  work  on  a  statue  of 
the  king.  Morris  writes  a  verse  on  her  art,  .  .  .  .501 


Morris  returns  to  Paris.  Hears  rumors  that  he  will  not  be  received  in  his 
diplomatic  capacity.  Makes  arrangements  to  fulfil  the  requirements 
of  his  position.  News  from  the  armies.  Madame  de  Tarente  asks  of 
Morris  advice  for  the  queen.  Interview  with  the  Minister  of  Foreign 
Affairs.  Conversation  with  Moustier.  Disorder  in  the  armies.  The 
king  disarms  his  guard.  Morris  is  presented  to  the  king.  Letter 
to  Jefferson.  Dines  with  Dumouriez.  Sudden  change  in  the  min 
istry.  Jeu  de  la  Reine.  Much  movement  in  Paris.  Guard  march 
ing  under  Morris's  windows.  Monciel  asks  his  advice  in  this  crisis. 
The  deputation  from  the  faubourgs  fill  the  Chateau  and  insult  the 
queen.  Morris  goes  to  Court.  The  king  receives  a  part  of  the  mili 
tia.  Lafayette  arrives  at  Paris.  Addresses  the  Assembly.  The 
queen  polite  to  Morris, 529 



Condition  of  Europe  in  July,  1792.  Letter  to  Jefferson.  Morris  opens 
his  house.  Tells  Montmorin  that  the  king  should  leave  Paris.  Mor 
ris  prepares  me  moires  for  the  king.  Paris  terrified  by  riots.  The 
king  and  queen  distressed  and  in  great  apprehension.  They  expect 
to  be  murdered  at  the  Chateau.  Morris  goes  to  Court.  Very  hot 
weather.  Great  agitation  in  Paris.  Musketry  ushers  in  August  loth. 
The  Chateau  undefended  is  carried  and  the  Swiss  guards  murdered. 
The  king  and  queen  are  in  the  National  Assembly.  Morris's  house 
filled  with  frightened  people.  The  ambassadors  leave  Paris.  Mor 
ris  stays  at  his  post.  He  tells  Claviere  that  he  has  no  powers  to 
treat  with  the  new  government.  Morris's  house  searched.  Murders 
continue.  Letter  to  Jefferson  describing  the  Revolution,  .  .  551 


Lafayette  refuses  to  obey  the  Assembly.  Leaves  France  and  is  captured. 
King  and  queen  are  imprisoned  in  the  Temple.  Disorder  reigns  in 
Paris.  Murders  continue.  Morris  hears  that  the  Brissotine  faction 
desire  to  do  him  mischief.  Letter  to  Washington.  The  dangers  of 
living  in  Paris.  Trials  of  Morris's  position.  Retreat  of  the  Prus 
sians.  Apprehension  of  a  famine.  Taking  of  Nice.  Anxious  un 
certainty  of  Morris's  life.  Letter  to  Jefferson  on  the  state  of  affairs. 
Letters  to  friends  assuring  them  of  his  well-being.  Difficulty  of  send 
ing  letters  safely.  Letter  to  Alexander  Hamilton.  Morris  becomes 
aware  that  the  French  Government  desire  his  recall,  .  .  .  586 








Gouverneur  Morris.  Birth.  Education.  Graduates  at  King's  College. 
Studies  law.  Licensed  to  practise.  Early  development  of  a  taste 
for  finance.  Takes  an  active  part  in  the  events  which  ended  in  the 
Declaration  of  Independence.  Elected  a  member  of  the  first  Pro 
vincial  Congress  in  1775.  Speaks  on  finance.  Leads  in  debates  in 
the  New  York  Congress.  Draws  up  instructions  for  Franklin,  then 
Minister  to  France.  Reports  to  Congress  on  the  subject  of  a  treaty 
with  the  British  Commissioners.  Practises  law  in  Philadelphia.  Ap 
pointed  assistant  to  the  Superintendent  of  Finance.  Practises  his 
profession  after  the  war.  Becomes  known  to  the  French  Ministry 
through  a  letter  written  to  the  Marquis  de  Chastellux.  A  delegate 
to  the  Convention  which  formed  the  Constitution.  Sails  for  France 
in  1788. 

GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS  was  born  at  Morrisania— 
to  quote  the  record  made  by  his  father  in  the  family 
Bible— "On  the  31  of  January  about  half  an  hour  after 
one  of  the  Clock  in  the  morning,  in  the  year  1752,  accord 
ing  to  the  alteration  of  the  style,  by  act  of  Parliament,  and 
was  christened  the  4  of  May  1754,  and  given  his  mother's 
name."  Gouverneur's  father  probably  discovered  signs 
of  unusual  promise  in  the  boy  ;  for  in  his  will,  which  is 
dated  November  19,  1760,  is  the  following  request  :  "  It  is 
my  desire  that  my  son,  Gouverneur  Morris,  may  have  the 
best  education  that  is  to  be  had  in  England  or  America." 
Lewis  Morris  died  when  his  son  was  twelve  years  old,  and 


the  care  of  his  education,  in  consequence,  devolved  upon 
his  mother.  Great  pains  were  taken  that  his  training 
should  be  of  a  kind  to  fit  him  for  any  career  that  might 
open  for  him. 

When  quite  a  child  he  was  placed  in  the  family  of  Mon 
sieur  Tetar,  at  New  Rochelle  ;  and  here  he  laid  the  foun 
dation  of  a  thorough  knowledge  of  the  French  language, 
which,  in  after  life,  he  spoke  and  wrote  with  much  fluency 
and  correctness.  In  1768  Morris  graduated  at  King's  Col 
lege  (now  Columbia),  and  immediately  after  graduating 
he  studied  law  in  the  office  of  William  Smith,  afterwards 
Chief  Justice  of  the  Province  of  New  York,  but  better 
known  as  Colonial  historian  of  the  State. 

The  bar  was  undoubtedly  the  profession  where  the 
qualities  of  Morris's  mind,  his  vigorous  and  penetrating 
intelligence,  were  most  likely  to  excel.  His  elocution 
was  animated  and  persuasive,  his  voice  sonorous  and 
pleasing,  his  figure  tall  and  exceedingly  graceful  ;  all  the 
attributes  of  an  orator  seemed  to  have  fallen  to  his  share. 
Ambitious  to  excel,  full  of  hope,  with  perfect  confidence 
in  his  own  powers,  and  therefore  entire  self-possession,  it 
was  possible  for  him  to  say,  with  all  sincerity,  that  in  his 
intercourse  with  men  he  never  knew  the  sensations  of 
fear,  embarrassment,  or  inferiority. 

Licensed  to  practise  as  an  attorney-at-law  full  three 
months  before  he  was  twenty,  in  1771,  his  ambition  was  to 
make  for  himself  a  distinguished  position  at  the  Colonial 
bar.  Two  years  before  this  a  series  of  anonymous  articles 
on  finance,  occasioned  by  a  plan  proposed^in  the  Assembly 
of  New  York  to  issue  paper  money,  appeared  in  a  news 
paper.  They  all  attracted  much  attention — but  particu 
larly  one  deprecating  the  evil  of  a  paper  currency  as 
mischievous  in  its  effects  and  wrong  in  principle,  and 
only  a  means  of  postponing  the  day  of  payment,  which 


should  be  met  by  substantial  funds,  collected  from  the 

His  studies  completed  and  his  admission  to  the  bar  se 
cured,  Morris's  thoughts  and  desires  turned  toward  Eu 
rope  and  foreign  travel.  "  To  rub  off  in  the  gay  circles  of 
foreign  life  a  few  of  those  many  barbarisms  which  char 
acterize  a  provincial  education  ;  to  form  some  acquaint 
ances  that  may  hereafter  be  of  service  to  me,  to  model 
myself  after  some  persons  who  cut  a  figure  in  the  law," 
were  some  of  the  reasons  he  gave  his  friend  William  Smith 
for  wishing  to  go  abroad.  In  further  excuse  of  the  scheme 
he  says  :  "  I  have  somehow  or  other  been  so  hurried 
through  the  different  scenes  of  childhood  and  youth,  that 
I  have  still  some  time  left  to  pause  before  I  tread  the 
great  stage  of  life,  and  you  know  how  much  our  conduct 
there  depends  upon  the  mode  of  our  education.  It  is 
needless  to  add  that  my  inclinations  have  taken  part  in 
the  debate."  His  friend  evidently  saw  serious  difficulties 
in  the  way — principally  pecuniary,  for  he  told  him  that 
his  mother  must  give  up  much  before  he  could  have  his 
wish,  and  advised  him,  even  when  the  guineas  lay  at  his 
feet,  to  "think  !  think  !  think  !"  The  voyage  was  aban 
doned  for  the  time,  and  for  the  next  three  years  Morris 
applied  himself  closely  to  his  profession. 

These  were  stirring  times,  the  colonies  and  the  mother 
country  were  disputing,  a  rupture  was  imminent,  the  port 
of  Boston  was  already  closed.  His  aristocratic  relations, 
rather  than,  as  is  generally  supposed,  his  Tory  antecedents, 
led  him  to  advocate  a  reconciliation  rather  than  a  break  with 
the  mother  country,  and  in  June,  1775,  when  this  question 
occupied  a  large  share  of  the  attention  of  the  Provincial 
Congress  of  New  York,  he  was  made  a  member  of  a  com 
mittee  to  draft  a  plan  to  settle  all  difficulties  with  Great 
Britain.  In  a  paper  written  in  1774  he  says  :  "  Taxation  is 


the  chief  bar,  and  a  safe  compact  seems  in  my  poor  opinion 
to  be  now  tendered — internal  taxation  to  be  left  with  our 
selves.  Reunion  between  the  two  countries  is  essential  to 
both — I  say  essential.  It  is  for  the  interest  of  all  men  to  seek 
reunion  with  the  parent  State.  The  spirit  of  the  English 
constitution  has  yet  a  little  influence  left,  and  but  a  little. 
The  remains  of  it  will  give  the  wealthy  people  a  superior 
ity  this  time,  but  would  they  secure  it,  they  must  banish 
all  schoolmasters,  and  confine  all  knowledge  to  themselves. 
This  cannot  be — the  mob  begin  to  think — the  gentry  be 
gin  to  fear  this— their  committee  will  be  appointed — they 
will  deceive  the  people  and  again  forfeit  a  share  of  their 
confidence.  And  if  these  are  instances  of  what  with  one 
side  is  policy,  with  the  other  perfidy,  farewell  aristocracy. 
I  see,  and  I  see  it  with  fear  and  trembling,  that  if  the  dis 
putes  with  Britain  continue,  we  shall  be  under  the  worst  of 
all  possible  dominions — the  dominion  of  a  riotous  mob  !  " 
When  the  crisis  finally  came,  Morris,  illustrating  the 
justice  of  Madison's  subsequent  eulogy  of  him,  namely, 
that  "to  the  brilliancy  of  his  genius  was  added  what  is 
too  rare,  a  candid  surrender  of  his  opinions,  when  the 
lights  of  discussion  satisfied  him,"  came  promptly  for 
ward  to  aid  his  country  in  the  struggle,  and  from  that 
moment  he  was  to  be  found  among  the  patriots  who  were 
bravest  arid  most  constant.  ( He  was  already  an  expert  in 
finance,  and  at  once  rendered  most  efficient  service  in 
drawing  up  a  plan  to  raise  money  for  the  expenses  of  the 
army,  and  other  military  operations.  This  subject  was 
one  of  the  first  and  most  important  which  occupied  the  at 
tention  of  the  members  of  the  first  Provincial  Congress  of 
New  York,  to  which  he  was  elected  a  member  in  1775. 
The  extent  of  his  knowledge  of  this  exceedingly  intricate 
subject  surprised  his  fellow-workers  on  the  committee,  and 
when  the  report  was  read,  before  a  large  audience  of  in- 

1776.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  5 

terested  persons,  he  spoke  with  a  remarkable  force  and 
eloquence.  His  dignity  and  persuasive  manner  strongly 
appealed  to  the  sympathy  of  his  audience,  and  the  young 
orator  of  twenty-three  carried  off  the  honors  of  the  day. 
The  report  as  it  came  from  his  pen  was  forwarded  to  the 
Continental  Congress  and  adopted  without  amendment 
or  change.  ) 

^Matters  had  by  this  time  come  to  such  a  pass,  between 
England  and  her  colonies,  that  in  May  of  this  year,  1776, 
the  Continental  Congress  recommended  to  the  various 
assemblies  and  conventions  of  the  colonies,  the  adoption 
of  such  regular  constitutions  and  forms  of  government  as 
might  best  suit  their  several  needs.  In  the  third  New 
York  Congress,  then  assembled,  Morris  took  the  lead  in 
the  debates  relative  to  the  adoption  of  a  new  form  of  gov 
ernment.  The  Tory  element  in  the  Congress  still  feared 
to  take  any  decided  step  that  might  show  absolute  disloy 
alty  to  the  King.  And  among  the  many  wealthy  families 
owning  large  estates  and  with  Tory  proclivities,  there 
was  still  a  hope  of  at  least  a  patched-up  reconciliation 
with  Great  Britain.  Up  to  this  time,  indeed,  the  question 
of  independence  had  seemed  scarcely  a  serious  one.  But 
Morris  earnestly  favored  in  the  Congress  the  formation 
of  a  new  government.  He  believed  that  the  time  had 
come  to  take  such  a  step  ;  that  the  dignity  of  a  free  people 
had  been  outraged  by  the  oppressions  of  England ;  that 
to  submit  longer  would  be  a  crime  against  justice  and  a 
mockery  of  liberty.  Fragments  of  a  speech  made  by  him 
during  the  course  of  the  debates  still  exist,  in  which  he 
touched  upon  the  already  hackneyed  theme  of  reconcilia 
tion  as  the  phantom  which  had  long  deluded  the  fancy 
of  his  associates  in  the  Congress.  "A  connection  with 
Great  Britain  cannot  exist,  and  independence  is  absolutely 
necessary.  .  .  .  We  run  a  hazard  in  one  path  I  con- 


fess,  but  then  we  are  infallibly  ruined  if  we  pursue  the  oth 
er.  ...  Some,  nay  many,  persons  in  America  dislike 
the  word  Independence  ;  for  my  own  part  I  see  no  reason 
why  Congress  is  not  full  as  good  a  word  as  States-General 
— or  Parliament ;  and  it  is  a  mighty  easy  matter  to  please 
people  when  a  single  sound  will  effect  it.  .  .  .  It  is  quite 
a  hackneyed  topic  boldly  insisted  on,  though  very  lightly 
assumed,  that  the  instant  an  American  independence  is 
declared  we  shall  have  all  the  powers  of  Europe  on  our 
backs.  Experience,  sir,  has  taught  those  powers  and  will 
teach  them  more  clearly  every  day,  that  an  American  war 
is  tedious,  expensive,  uncertain,  and  ruinous.  Nations  do 
not  make  war  without  some  view.  Should  they  be  able 
to  conquer  America,  it  would  cost  them  more  to  maintain 
such  conquest,  than  the  fee  simple  of  the  country  is  worth." 
He  made  a  strong  appeal  for  the  political  liberty  of  the 
country,  which  he  thought  might  be  secured  by  the  sim 
plest  contrivance  imaginable — "dividing  the  country  into 
small  districts,  the  annual  election  of  members  to  Con 
gress,  and  every  member  incapacitated  from  serving  more 
than  one  year  out  of  three.  Why  should  we  hesitate  ? 
Have  you  the  least  hope  in  treaty  ?  Will  you  trust  the 
Commissioners  ?  Trust  crocodiles,  trust  the  hungry  wolf 
in  your  flock  or  a  rattlesnake  near  your  bosom,  you  may 
yet  be  something  wise.  But  trust  the  King,  his  Ministers, 
his  Commissioners,  it  is  madness  in  the  extreme.  Why 
will  you  trust  them?  Why  force  yourself  to  make  a  daily 
resort  to  arms  ?  Is  this  miserable  country  to  be  plunged 
in  an  endless  war  ?  Must  each  revolving  year  come  heavy 
laden  with  those  dismal  scenes  which  we  have  already  wit 
nessed  ?  If  so,  farewell  liberty,  farewell  virtue,  farewell 
happiness  !  " 

With  the  crisis  in  the  affairs  of  the  colonies  in  1776,  pub 
lic  sentiment  in  New  York  underwent  a  change,  and  five 

1776.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  7 

days  after  the  Declaration  of  Independence  the  Congress 
of  that  Colony  declared  their  intention  to  support  that  inde 
pendence  at  all  risks.  When  the  Constitution  of  the  State 
of  New  York  was  made,  in  August,  1776,  Morris  labored 
to  introduce  into  it  an  article  prohibiting  domestic  slavery, 
but  he  was  not  successful.  A  letter  to  his  mother  in  this 
year  expressed  the  deep  feeling  with  which  the  prospect 
of  the  war  filled  him.  "What  may  be  the  event  of  the 
present  war,"  he  says,  "it  is  not  in  man  to  determine. 
Great  revolutions  of  empire  are  seldom  achieved  without 
much  human  calamity,  but  the  worst  which  can  happen  is 
to  fall  on  the  last  bleak  mountain  of  America,  and  he  who 
dies  there,  in  defense  of  the  injured  rights  of  mankind,  is 
happier  than  his  conqueror,  more  beloved  by  mankind, 
more  applauded  by  his  own  heart." 

After  the  new  Constitution  of  New  York  had  been 
adopted,  Morris  was  elected  a  delegate  to  the  Continen 
tal  Congress,  but  owing  to  the  critical  state  of  affairs  in 
his  own  State  he  was  unable  to  attend.  In  October  he 
was  elected  a  second  time.  He  had  been  in  public  life 
for  nearly  three  years  and  had  established  a  reputation 
for  talents  of  no  ordinary  kind.  Congress  honored  him 
the  day  he  presented  his  credentials  by  appointing  him 
one  of  a  committee  of  five  of  great  importance.  The  army 
with  Washington  at  Valley  Forge  were  discouraged  and 
demoralized  by  the  terrible  winter,  and  there,  in  concert 
with  the  general-in-chief,  a  plan  was  prepared  to  reor 
ganize  the  army,  clothe  and  feed  them,  and  regulate  the 
medical  department.  Approved  and  adopted  by  Con 
gress,  the  effects  of  the  plan  were  soon  manifest.  Dur 
ing  this  winter  which  Morris  spent  at  Valley  Forge  he 
formed  a  life-long  and  intimate  friendship  with  Washing 
ton.  After  the  occupation  of  New  York  by  the  British,  he 
had  been  entirely  cut  off  from  his  home  at  Morrisania  ; 


and  the  strong  Tory  proclivities  of  his  friends  subjected 
him  to  suspicion  on  the  part  of  certain  mischief-making 
persons.  Mr.  Jay  wrote  to  him  from  Philadelphia : 
"  Your  enemies  talk  much  of  your  Tory  connections. 
Take  care,  do  not  unnecessarily  expose  yourself  to  cal 
umny  and  perhaps  indignity."  In  reply  Morris  says,  "As 
to  the  malevolence  of  individuals,  it  is  what  I  have  to 
expect,  and  is  by  no  means  a  matter  of  surprise.  But  by 
laboring  in  the  public  service,  so  as  to  gain  the  applause 
of  those  whose  applause  is  worth  gaining  I  will  have  my 
revenge."  It  was  whispered  abroad  by  his  enemies  that 
Morris's  letters  to  his  mother,  which  had  to  pass  through 
the  British  lines  before  they  reached  her,  contained  mat 
ter  other  than  that  intended  for  her  and  to  the  advantage 
of  the  enemy. 

A  curious  history  is  told  of  a  letter  written  to  Mr.  Mor* 
ris,  in  1775,  by  his  brother-in-law  in  London,  express 
ing  his  interest  in  Morris's  career,  bidding  him  deserve 
well  of  his  country,  and  endeavor  to  insure  peace  and  pre 
serve  good  order.  "  The  most  vigorous  preparations,"  he 
continued,  warningly,  "  are  making  to  carry  on  the  war. 
The  nation  is  united,  although  the  pulse  does  not  beat  so 
high  as  if  they  were  waging  war  against  a  foreign  enemy." 
Detained  at  New  York  because  addressed  to  a  rebel,  then 
sent  to  Halifax,  the  letter  was  thence  despatched  to  New 
York  by  a  vessel  which  was  lost  off  the  coast  of  New 
Jersey.  The  mail-bag  drifted  on  the  coast,  and  the  letter 
found  its  way  to  Burlington,  N.  J.  Morris  heard  of  its 
existence  and  asked  for  it,  but  a  mystery  surrounded  it, 
and  its  contents  had  something  suspicious  about  them  in 
the  opinion  of  those  who  had  read  it.  Eventually  it  was 
forwarded  to  Morris  by  the  President  of  Pennsylvania, 
who  had  been  prejudiced  after  reading  it,  although,  dur 
ing  the  three  years  that  it  had  been  drifting  about,  all 


Morris's  energies  had  been  given  to  resisting  Great  Britain 
and  making  the  government  secure.  The  letter  is  still 
preserved  at  Morrisania. 

His  letters  to  his  mother  were  few  and  unimportant. 
In  1778  he  wrote  to  her  that  since  he  had  left  Morrisania 
he  had  never  heard  directly  from  her,  and  "  never  had  the 
satisfaction  of  knowing  that  of  the  many  letters  I  have 
written,  you  have  ever  received  one.  It  would  give  me 
infinite  pleasure,"  he  adds,  "  to  hear  of  my  friends,  your 
self  in  particular.  But  since  it  is  my  lot  to  know  no  more 
than  the  burthen  of  general  report  I  must  be  contented. 
I  received  great  pain  from  being  informed  that  you  are 
distressed  on  my  account.  Be  of  good  cheer  I  pray  you, 
I  have  all  that  happiness  which  flows  from  conscious  rec 
titude.  I  would  it  were  in  my  power  to  solace  and  com 
fort  your  declining  years.  The  duty  I  owe  to  a  tender 
parent  demands  this  of  me  ;  but  a  higher  duty  has  bound 
me  to  the  service  of  my  fellow  creatures.  The  natural  in 
dolence  of  my  disposition,  has  unfitted  me  for  the  paths  of 
ambition,  and  the  early  possession  of  power  has  taught 
me  how  little  it  deserves  to  be  prized.  Whenever  the 
present  storm  subsides  I  shall  rush  with  eagerness  into 
the  bosom  of  private  life,  but  while  my  country  calls  for 
the  exertion  of  that  little  share  of  abilities  which  it  has 
pleased  God  to  bestow  on  me,  I  hold  it  my  indispensable 
duty  to  give  myself  to  her.  I  know  that  for  such  senti 
ments,  which  are  not  fashionable  among  the  folks  you  see, 
I  am  called  a  rebel.  I  hope  that  your  maternal  tenderness 
may  not  lead  you  to  wish  that  I  would  resign  these  senti 
ments.  Let  me  entreat  you,  be  not  concerned  on  my  ac 
count  ;  I  shall  again  see  you — perhaps  the  time  is  not  far 
off.  Hope  the  best.  Adieu." 

Three  years  after  this  Mrs.  Morris  was  dangerously  ill. 
He  earnestly  desired  to  go  to  her,  and  she  as  earnestly  de- 


sired  to  see  her  only  son.  But  public  opinion  of  both 
friends  and  foes  was  so  strong  against  his  making  the  visit 
that  it  was  never  made.  Indeed,  in  order  that  his  motives 
for  contemplating  this  visit  might  be  publicly  known,  he 
published  a  letter  in  the  Freeman's  Journal  in  which  he 
plainly  stated  what  may  be  called  his  "  position  "  in  these 
difficult  circumstances,  as  follows:  "In  the  year  1776  I 
left  all  for  the  sake  of  those  principles  which  have  justified 
and  supported  the  revolution.  This  sacrifice  was  made 
without  hesitation  or  regret,  but  it  gave  me  real  concern 
to  leave  an  aged  parent  at  the  mercy  of  the  enemy.  It  is 
true,  I  was  for  some  time  honored  by  my  countrymen  be 
yond  my  desert  and  beyond  my  ambition.  When  our  pros 
pects  were  very  gloomy,  I  was  deeply  engaged  in  public 
business  of  an  intricate  nature,  and  placed  in  a  variety  of 
arduous  and  critical  situations.  I  have  thought  much, 
labored  much,  suffered  much.  In  return  I  have  been  cen 
sured,  reproached,  slandered,  goaded  by  abuse,  blackened 
by  calumny,  and  oppressed  by  public  opinion.  I  have  de 
clined  many  pressing  solicitations  to  visit  my  mother 
within  the  enemy's  lines.  But  when  a  violent  disease  en 
dangered  her  life,  and  I  learnt  of  her  anxiety  to  see  me 
before  her  eyes  were  closed  forever,  I  promised  to  go. 
The  necessary  passport  of  the  British  general  was  ob-? 
tained,  but  not  the  permission  of  the  President  and  Coun 
cil  of  the  State  of  Pennsylvania.  But  since  my  intentions 
are  disagreeable  to  you,  I  will  persist  no  longer.  Having 
already  devoted  the  better  part  of  my  life  to  your  service, 
I  will  now  sacrifice  my  feelings  to  your  inclinations." 
After  an  absence  of  seven  years,  and  only  when  peace 
was  concluded,  did  Morris  return  to  his  mother,  and  his 
home.  He  reached  Morrisaniain  time  to  help  his  mother 
prepare  her  claim  of  the  estate  for  damages  done  there 
to  by  the  British  army.  Besides  the  large  number  of 


animals  taken  for  food,  timber  had  been  cut  on  four  hun 
dred  and  seventy  acres  of  woodland  for  ship-building,  ar 
tillery,  and  firewood.  The  claim  amounted  to  ^8,000, 
but  it  was  not  paid  during  Mrs.  Morris's  life-time. 

In  October,  1778,  Morris  was  intrusted  with  the  task  of 
drawing  up  the  first  instructions  ever  sent  to  an  Amer 
ican  minister.  Dr.  Franklin  was  then  at  the  Court  of 
Versailles.  When  the  report  of  the  American  Commis 
sioners  abroad  came  in  1778,  Morris  was  elected  chair 
man  of  a  committee  of  five  to  consider  and  report  upon 
the  so-called  conciliatory  propositions  of  Lord  North  of 
fering  to  abandon  the  vexed  point  of  taxation  and  to  send 
commissioners  to  treat  with  the  Americans.  Morris  drew 
up  the  report  which  declared  that  the  United  States  could 
not  treat  with  any  commissioners  from  Great  Britain  un 
less  British  fleets  and  armies  should  be  withdrawn  and 
the  independence  of  the  United  States  acknowledged. 
This  report,  the  most  important  during  the  war,  was  unan 
imously  adopted  by  the  Continental  Congress  and  became 
the  basis  of  the  peace.  As  the  time  approached  for  the 
expiration  of  his  term  in  Congress,  rumors  reached  him 
that  a  scheme  had  been  set  on  foot  to  defeat  his  re-elec 
tion,  principally  on  the  ground  that  he  had  neglected  the 
interests  of  his  State  for  those  of  the  general  Government. 
He  was  advised  to  make  a  visit  to  the  State  legislature 
and  attend  to  his  interests  there.  This  he  did,  but  too 
late  ;  he  lost  his  election. 

It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  he  has  left  no  record 
of  his  relations  with  the  Government  during  these  years, 
but  from  the  multiplicity  of  his  labors  it  seems  remarkable 
that  he  could  have  found  time  to  devote  to  the  necessary 
practice  of  his  profession.  Years  afterward,  when  applied 
to  for  some  written  account  of  the  events  of  the  Revolu 
tion  in  which  he  personally  took  part,  he  says  :  "  I  have 


no  notes  or  memorandum  of  what  passed  during  the  war. 
I  led  then  the  most  laborious  life  which  can  be  imagined. 
This  you  will  readily  suppose  to  have  been  the  case  when 
I  was  engaged  with  my  departed  friend  Robert  Morris,  in 
the  office  of  finance,  but  what  you  will  not  so  readily  sup 
pose  is,  that  I  was  still  more  harassed  while  a  member  of 
Congress.  Not  to  mention  the  attendance  from  n  to  4  in 
the  house,  which  was  common  to  all,  and  the  appoint 
ments  to  committees,  of  which  I  had  a  full  share,  I  was  at 
the  same  time  Chairman,  and  of  course  did  the  business, 
of  the  Standing  Committees  ;  viz.,  on  the  commissary's, 
quartermaster's,  and  medical  Departments.  You  must  not 
imagine  that  the  members  of  these  committees  took  any 
share  or  burden  of  the  affairs.  Necessity,  preserving  the 
democratical  forms,  assumed  the  monarchical  substance  of 
business.  The  Chairman  received  and  answered  all  letters 
and  other  applications,  took  every  step  which  he  deemed 
essential,  prepared  reports,  gave  orders,  and  the  like,  and 
merely  took  the  members  of  a  committee  into  a  chamber 
and  for  form's  sake  made  the  needful  communications,  and 
received  their  approbation  which  was  given  of  course.  I 
was  moreover  obliged  to  labor  occasionally  in  my  own 
profession  as  my  wages  were  insufficient  for  my  support. 
I  would  not  trouble  you,  my  dear  sir,  with  this  abstract  of 
my  situation,  if  it  did  not  appear  necessary  to  show  you 
why,  having  so  many  near  relations  of  my  own  blood  in 
our  armies,  I  kept  no  note  of  their  services.  Nay  I  could 
not  furnish  any  tolerable  memorandum  of  my  own  exist 
ence  during  that  eventful  period  of  American  history." 

After  five  years  of  active  work  in  public  affairs,  Mor 
ris  could  not  entirely  dissociate  himself  from  the  great 
events  of  the  day,  and  although,  when  he  lost  his  elec 
tion  to  Congress,  he  became  a  citizen  of  Philadelphia 
and  settled  down  to  the  practice  of  his  profession,  his 

1780.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  13 

mind  was  still  actively  interested  in  the  deplorable  finan 
cial  condition  of  the  country,  and  he  found  time  to  write 
a  series  of  essays  in  the  Pennsylvania  Packet,  signed  "  An 
American."  In  these  essays  he  discusses  the  currency, 
the  coinage,  the  undesirability  of  a  compulsory  fixed  value 
for  paper  money,  and  the  banks  of  America  ;  and  it  would 
be  difficult  to  find  a  more  comprehensive  view  of  the 
financial  proceedings  of  the  old  Congress,  and  the  effects 
of  the  paper  currency,  than  these  essays  contain. 

In  Philadelphia  in  May,  1780,  while  trying  to  control 
a  pair  of  runaway  horses,  Morris  was  thrown  from  his 
phaeton,  dislocated  his  ankle,  and  fractured  the  bones  of 
his  left  leg.  The  two  physicians  who  were  called  to  him 
recommended  an  immediate  amputation  as  the  only  means 
of  saving  his  life,  and,  although  this  must  have  been 
a  painful  alternative  for  so  young  a  man  to  contemplate, 
he  submitted  to  the  decree  of  the  doctors  with  philosophy 
and  even  cheerfulness,  and  to  the  operation  with  extreme 
fortitude.  The  leg  was  taken  off  below  the  knee,  and  the 
operation  has  been  cited  by  physicians  knowing  the  par 
ticulars  as  most  unskilful  and  hasty.  The  day  after  it 
took  place  a  friend  called  upon  him,  full  of  sympathy  and 
prepared  to  offer  all  the  possible  consolation  on  an  event 
so  melancholy.  He  painted  in  vivid  words  the  good  effect 
that  such  a  trial  should  produce  on  his  character  and 
moral  temperament,  enlarging  on  the  many  temptations 
and  pleasures  of  life  into  which  young  men  are  apt  to 
be  led,  and  of  the  diminished  inducement  Morris  would 
now  have  to  indulge  in  the  enjoyment  of  such  pleasures. 
"My  good  sir,"  replied  Mr.  Morris,  "you  argue  the  matter 
so  handsomely  and  point  out  so  clearly  the  advantages  of 
being  without  legs,  that  I  am  almost  tempted  to  part  with 
the  other."  Morris  seems  to  have  felt  the  force  of  his 
friend's  arguments  in  regard  to  the  balancing  effect  on  his 


character  of  the  loss  of  a  portion  of  his  person,  for  to  an 
other  friend,  also  deeply  sympathetic  and  full  of  regret 
that  he  should  have  met  with  so  grave  a  misfortune,  he 
remarked  :  "  Sir,  the  loss  is  much  less  than  you  imagine  ;  I 
shall  doubtless  be  a  steadier  man  with  one  leg  than  with 
two."  For  the  remainder  of  his  life  he  wore  a  wooden 
leg,  of  primitive  simplicity,  not  much  more  than  a  rough 
oak  stick  with  a  wooden  knob  on  the  end  of  it. 

This  simple  contrivance,  however,  suited  him  better 
than  any  of  more  elaborate  construction  which  he  after 
wards  tried  in  Paris  and  London.  Owing  to  this  accident, 
when  he  was  presented  at  Court  at  Paris  he  asked  to  be 
allowed  to  appear  without  a  sword,  and,  though  a  serious 
departure  from  court  etiquette,  the  favor  was  granted. 
During  one  of  the  years  of  his  ministry  in  Paris,  when 
carriages  were  abolished  as  being  aristocratic,  and  the 
chances  were  against  the  escape  of  any  person  discovered 
driving  in  one,  Morris,  who  seems  always  to  have  de 
fied  the  mob  though  by  no  means  averse  to  saving  his 
life,  drove  through  the  streets  followed  by  hoots  and 
cries  of,  "  An  aristocrat,"  and,  quietly  opening  the  door 
of  his  carriage,  thrust  out  his  wooden  leg,  and  said  :  "An 
aristocrat !  yes,  truly,  who  lost  his  leg  in  the  cause  of 
American  liberty ;"  whereat  followed  great  applause  from 
the  mob. 

When  Robert  Morris  was  made  Superintendent  of  Fi 
nance,  and  Congress  provided  for  an  Assistant  Superin 
tendent,  knowing  intimately  the  character  and  abilities  of 
his  friend  Gouverneur  Morris,  he  at  once  made  choice  of 
him  to  fill  the  position.  Together  they  labored  to  estab 
lish  public  credit  and  confidence,  and  with  the  small  sum 
of  four  hundred  thousand  dollars  they  established,  and 
Congress  incorporated,  the  "  Bank  of  North  America." 
Gouverneur  Morris  says,  in  a  letter  to  a  friend  not  long 

1783-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  15 

before  his  death  :  "  The  first  bank  in  this  country  was 
planned  by  your  humble  servant." 

The  serious  charge  was  made  against  Morris,  during 
the  years  of  his  connection  with  the  Finance  Department, 
that  he  was  a  monarchist  and  had  advocated  using  the 
army  to  establish  such  a  form  of  government.  In  a  let 
ter  to  General  Nathaniel  Greene,  in  1781,  he  says  :  "Ex 
perience  must  at  last  induce  the  people  of  America  if  the 
war  continues  to  entrust  proper  powers  to  the  American 
Sovereign,  having  compelled  that  Sovereign  reluctantly  to 
relinquish  the  administration  and  entrust  to  their  ministers 
the  care  of  this  immense  republic.  I  say  if  the  war  con 
tinues  or  does  not  continue,  I  have  no  hope  that  the  Gov 
ernment  will  acquire  force  ;  and  I  will  go  further,  I  have 
no  hope  that  our  Union  can  subsist  except  in  the  form  of 
an  absolute  monarchy,  and  this  does  not  seem  to  consist 
with  the  taste  and  temper  of  the  people.  From  the  same 
attachment  to  the  happiness  of  mankfnd,  which  prompted 
my  first  efforts  in  this  revolution,  I  am  now  induced  to 
wish  that  Congress  may  be  possessed  of  much  more  author 
ity  than  has  hitherto  been  delegated  to  them."  He  feared 
war  between  the  States,  "  for  near  neighbors  are  very  rarely 
good  neighbors,"  and  advocated  a  centralization  of  power  ; 
but  his  actions,  as  well  as  writings,  are  his  best  vindication 
from  any  wish  to  forma  monarchy  in  America.  His  creed 
was  rather  to  form  the  government  to  suit  the  condition, 
character,  manners,  and  habits  of  the  people.  In  France 
this  opinion  led  him  to  take  the  monarchical  view,  firmly 
believing  that  a  republican  form  of  government  would  not 
suit  the  French  character. 

After  the  war  was  over,  Morris  retired  from  the  position 
of  Assistant  to  the  Superintendent  of  the  Finances  of  the 
United  States  and  again  betook  himself  to  the  practice 
of  the  law,  intending  to  settle  at  New  York  ;  but  various 

l6  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  I. 

ties  of  business  kept  him  in  Philadelphia  and  more  or  less 
associated  with  Robert  Morris,  sometimes  acting  as  his 
agent,  sometimes  on  his  own  account.  Together  they  de 
vised  plans  and  projects,  new  adventures  of  many  kinds 
which  promised  success  and  pecuniary  advancement.  As 
early  as  1782  Congress  had  instructed  Robert  Morris  to 
report  on  the  foreign  coin  then  circulating  in  the  United 
States.  A  letter  with  a  full  exposition  of  the  subject  was 
sent  to  Congress,  officially  signed  by  Robert  Morris,  but 
written,  as  Mr.  Jefferson  said,  by  the  Assistant  Superin 
tendent  of  Finance.  The  most  interesting  part  of  this 
report  was  a  new  plan  for  an  American  coinage,  which 
originated  with  Gouverneur  Morris,  and  which  was,  in 
fact,  the  basis  of  the  system  now  in  use.  In  1784  it  is 
worth  noting  that  Morris  became  known  to  the  French 
Ministry  through  two  letters  written  to  the  Marquis  de 
Chastellux  in  regard  to  the  commercial  relations  between 
France  and  the  United  States,  but  particularly  the  West 
India  trade.  M.  de  Chastellux  says  :  "Your  letters  have 
been  communicated  to  M.  le  Marechal  de  Castries,  Minis 
ter  of  Marine,  who  is  delighted  with  them  ;  he  told  me  that 
he  had  seen  nothing  superior  or  more  full  of  powerful 
thought  on  the  subject  of  government  and  politics." 

In  1786  his  mother,  who  had  been  an  invalid  for  several 
years,  died.  By  his  father's  will  the  estate  of  Morrisania, 
after  the  death  of  Mrs.  Morris,  devolved  upon  the  second 
son,  Staats  Long  Morris,  who  had  married  in  England 
the  Duchess  of  Gordon,  and  was  a  general  in  the  British 
army.  Lewis,  the  eldest  son,  had  received  his  portion  be 
fore  his  father's  death,  and,  under  his  father's  will  General 
Morris,  when  he  should  become  possessed  of  the  prop 
erty,  was  to  pay  a  legacy  of  ^7,000  to  the  other  children. 
Of  this  sum  ^2,000  were  to  come  to  Gouverneur.  Gen 
eral  Morris  was  quite  willing  to  part  with  Morrisania, 

1787-]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  1 7 

never  intending  to  live  there,  and  Gouverneur  determined 
to  make  the  purchase.  By  the  aid  of  loans  and  accommo 
dations  he  became  possessed  of  this  estate  and  part  of  the 
general's  lands  in  New  Jersey.  Commercial  adventures, 
large  shipments  of  tobacco  to  France,  and  other  under 
takings  had  already  laid  the  foundation  of  a  fortune. 

In  1787,  as  a  delegate  from  Pennsylvania,  of  which 
State  he  was,  after  a  seven  years'  residence,  considered  a 
citizen,  Morris  took  his  seat  in  the  Convention  assem 
bled  for  the  great  task  of  framing  the  Federal  Consti 
tution.  But  here  again  he  made  no  notes,  and  left  no 
account  of  his  personal  action  in  the  Convention.  In  a 
letter  to  Colonel  Pickering,  written  two  years  before  his 
death,  he  says  :  "  While  I  sat  in  the  Convention  my  mind 
was  too  much  occupied  with  the  interests  of  our  country 
to  keep  notes  of  what  we  had  done  ;  my  faculties  were 
on  the  stretch  to  further  our  business,  remove  impedi 
ments,  obviate  objections  and  conciliate  jarring  opin 
ions."  President  Madison,  in  a  letter  to  Jared  Sparks, 
bears  testimony  to  his  endeavor  to  preserve  harmony,  and 
to  his  active  and  able  assistance  in  that  difficult  and 
momentous  work.  "  He  certainly,"  says  Madison,  "did 
not  incline  to  the  democratic  side,  but  contended  for  a 
senate  elected  for  life,"  the  suffrage  to  be  given  only  to 
freeholders,  and  property  to  be  represented.  He  vigor 
ously  opposed  slavery,  moved  to  insert  the  word  "free" 
before  "  inhabitants,"  and  denounced  the  slave  system  as 
a  "  nefarious  institution,  the  curse  of  Heaven  on  all  the 
states  in  which  it  prevails,"  boldly  asserting  that  he  never 
would  concur  in  upholding  the  institution.  In  the  same 
letter  Madison  says:  "The  finish  given  to  the  style  and 
arrangement  of  the  constitution  fairly  belongs  to  the 
pen  of  Mr.  Morris.  A  better  choice  could  not  have  been 
made,  as  the  performance  of  the  task  proved.  The  talents 


and  taste  of  the  author  were  stamped  on  the  face  of  it." 
Morris  speaks  in  a  manly  way  of  the  Constitution  in  a  let 
ter  to  a  gentleman  in  France  :  "You  will,  ere  this,"  said 
he,  "have  seen  the  Constitution  proposed  for  the  United 
States.  I  have  many  reasons  to  believe  that  it  was  the 
work  of  plain,  honest  men,  and  such  I  think  it  will  ap 
pear.  Faulty  it  must  be,  for  what  is  perfect  ?  Should  it 
take  effect,  the  affairs  of  this  country  will  put  on  a  much 
better  aspect  than  they  have  yet  worn,  and  America  will 
soon  be  as  much  respected  abroad  as  she  has  for  some 
time  past  been  disregarded." 

During  the  winter  of  1787  Morris  was  in  Virginia  super 
intending  the  mercantile  affairs  in  which  he  and  Robert 
Morris  were  jointly  interested.  It  was  necessary  to  have 
an  agent  on  the  spot  who  understood  the  business,  to 
manage  the  shipment  of  tobacco  to  France,  for  which 
large  contracts  had  been  taken  by  the  farmers-general. 
In  November,  1788,  Morris  determined  to  take  his  "de 
parture  from  Philadelphia  for  the  Kingdom  of  France," 
he  wrote  to  General  Washington,  who  supplied  him  with 
letters  of  introduction  to  many  persons,  giving  him  also 
several  commissions  to  execute  for  himself.  Among  them 
was  one  to  purchase  in  Paris  a  gold  watch  for  his  own 
use.  "Not  a  small,  trifling  nor  a  finical,  ornamental  one, 
but  a  watch  well  executed  in  point  of  workmanship,  large, 
flat,  and  with  a  plain,  handsome  key,"  were  the  instruc 
tions.  Morris  sailed  from  Philadelphia  in  the  ship  Hen 
rietta,  and  passed  the  Capes  of  Delaware  on  the  i8th  of 
December,  1788. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  19 


Morris  Lands  at  Havre.  Goes  to  Paris.  Letter  to  the  French  minister 
in  America.  State  of  Paris.  Washington's  commission.  Letter  to 
William  Carmichael.  Society  life.  Madame  de  Chastellux's  salon 
and  others.  Paris  on  the  eve  of  the  Revolution.  Madame  de  Beau- 
harnais  at  home.  Presented  to  Montmorin.  Meets  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans.  M.  de  Malesherbes.  Letter  to  the  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne. 
Madame  de  Tesse's  Republican  salon.  Hurry  of  life  in  Paris.  Lafa 
yette's  election  in  Auvergne.  Paupers  in  Paris.  Morris's  busy  life. 
Meets  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Pleasant  days  and  evenings  with  charm 
ing  women.  Dines  with  Necker.  Madame  de  Stael.  Supper  with  the 
Baron  de  Besenval.  Interview  with  the  Marechal  de  Castries.  Visit 
to  the  statues  at  the  Louvre.  A  day  of  Misfortunes. 

ON  Tuesday,  the  2yth  of  January,  1789,  after  a  tem 
pestuous  voyage  of  forty  days,  the  Henrietta  en 
tered  the  port  of  Havre.  After  landing,  Morris  at  once 
sought  out  the  persons  who  were  engaged  with  Rob 
ert  Morris  in  the  tobacco  and  flour  contracts,  and  the 
business  he  had  undertaken  for  his  friend  was  pushed 
forward  with  all  the  energy  which  was  one  of  his  strong 
est  characteristics.  Part  of  his  work  during  the  few  days 
he  spent  at  Havre  was  investigating  the  chances  for  specu 
lation  in  wheat,  of  which  there  was,  at  the  moment,  he 
wrote,  "an  actual  scarcity  and  a  still  greater  expected." 
He  immediately  conceived  and  communicated  to  William 
Constable  &  Co.,  of  New  York,  with  whom  he  was  in  spe 
cial  partnership,  a  plan  "for  purchasing  all  the  wheat  on 
Hudson's  river,"  and  entered  into  arrangements  by  which 
it  should  reach  France  at  the  moment  of  the  greatest  de- 


mand — "  thereby  raising  the  price  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Atlantic."  By  the  3d  of  February  he  was  in  Paris,  and 
settled  at  the  Hotel  Richelieu,  Rue  de  Richelieu.  In  his 
early  letters  and  diary  he  says  nothing  whatever  of  his 
impressions  of  Paris — his  entire  attention  and  time  were 
given  to  finding  out  from  the  firms  of  Le  Normand  and 
Bourdieu  the  reason  of  their  failure  to  accept  large  con 
signments  of  tobacco  for  which  they  had  contracted,  and 
why  his  friend  should  be  placed  in  a  "  situation  unex 
ampled  for  a  man  of  his  property."  ) 

His  first  allusion  to  Paris  and  public  affairs  in  France 
is  in  a  letter  to  the  Comte  de  Moustier,*  then  in  America, 
in  which  he  speaks  of  the  cordial  reception  the  count's 
letters  had  procured  him. 

"  The  more  I  see  of  Paris,"  he  wrote,  "  the  more  sensi 
ble  I  am  of  your  sacrifice  in  leaving  it  to  traverse  a  great 
ocean,  and  establish  yourself  with  a  people  as  yet  too  new 
to  relish  that  society  which  forms  here  the  delight  of  life. 
For  devoting  thus  to  the  public  service  both  your  time 
and  enjoyments,  you  have  as  yet  been  poorly  recom 
pensed.  Your  nation  is  now  in  a  most  important  crisis, 
and  the  question,  Shall  we  have  a  constitution  or  shall 
will  continue  to  be  law  ?  employs  every  mind  and  agitates 

*Eleonor- Francois,  the  Marquis  de  Moustier,  arrived  in  America  as  minis 
ter  from  France  at  the  close  of  the  year  1787.  He  was  rich  and  close  though 
lavish  in  display,  and  showed  less  tact  in  dealing  with  Americans  than  his 
predecessors  had  done,  and  was  consequently  less  liked.  His  sister,  Madame 
de  Brehan,  with  her  son,  accompanied  him  to  this  country.  A  letter  from 
John  Armstrong  to  General  Gates  says  of  Moustier:  "We  have  a  French 
minister  here  with  us,  and  if  France  had  wished  to  destroy  the  little  remem 
brance  that  is  left  of  her,  and  her  exertions  in  our  behalf,  she  would  have 
sent  just  such  a  minister.  Distant,  haughty,  punctilious,  and  entirely  gov 
erned  by  the  caprices  of  a  little  singular,  whimsical,  hysterical  old  woman 
whose  delight  is  in  playing  with  a  negro  child  and  caressing  a  monkey."  M. 
de  Moustier  illuminated  his  house  (in  Broadway,  near  the  Bowling  Green) 
splendidly  in  honor  of  Washington's  inauguration,  and  gave  a  grand  ball  to 
the  President  and  his  suite. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  21 

every  heart  in  France.  Even  voluptuousness  itself  arises 
from  its  couch  of  roses  and  looks  anxiously  abroad,  at  the 
busy  scene  to  which  nothing  can  now  be  indifferent. 
Your  nobles,  your  clergy,  your  people,  are  all  in  motion 
for  the  elections.  A  spirit  which  has  lain  dormant  for 
generations  starts  up  and  stares  about  ignorant  of  the 
means  of  obtaining,  but  ardently  desirous  to  possess  the 
object,  consequently  active,  energetic,  easily  led,  but,  alas, 
easily,  too  easily,  misled.  Such  is  the  instinctive  love 
of  freedom  which  now  boils  in  the  bosom  of  your  coun 
try,  that  respect  for  his  sovereign,  which  forms  the  dis 
tinctive  mark  of  a  Frenchman,  stimulates  and  fortifies 
on  the  present  occasion  those  sentiments  which  have 
hitherto  been  deemed  most  hostile  to  monarchy.  For 
Louis  the  Sixteenth  has  himself  proclaimed  from  the 
throne,  a  wish  that  every  barrier  should  be  thrown  down 
which  time  or  accident  may  have  opposed  to  the  general 
felicity  of  his  people.  It  would  be  presumptuous  in  me 
even  to  guess  at  the  effect  of  such  causes,  operating  on 
materials  and  institutions  of  which  I  confess  to  you  the 
most  profound  ignorance. 

"  I  feel  that  I  have  already  gone  too  far  in  attempting 
to  describe  what  I  think  I  have  perceived.  But  before  I 
quit  the  subject  I  must  express  the  wish,  the  ardent  wish, 
that  this  great  ferment  may  terminate  not  only  to  the 
good  but  to  the  glory  of  France.  On  the  scenes  which 
her  great  theatre  now  displays,  the  eyes  of  the  universe 
are  fixed  with  anxiety.  The  national  honor  is  deeply 
interested  in  a  successful  issue.  Indulge  me  also,  I  pray, 
in  conveying  the  opinion  that  until  that  issue  is  known, 
every  arrangement  both  foreign  and  domestic  must  feel  a 
panic.  Horace  tells  us  that  in  crossing  the  sea  we  change 
our  climate  not  our  souls.  I  can  say  what  he  could  not ; 
that  I  find  on  this  side  the  Atlantic  a  strong  resemblance 


to  what  I  left  on  the  other — a  nation  which  exists  in 
hopes,  prospects,  and  expectations — the  reverence  for 
ancient  establishments  gone,  existing  forms  shaken  to 
the  foundation,  and  a  new  order  of  things  about  to  take 
place,  in  which,  perhaps  even  to  the  very  names,  all  for 
mer  institutions  will  be  disregarded. 

"To  judge  of  the  present  turmoil  I  can  give  you  no 
better  standard  than  by  telling  you,  what  is  seriously  true, 
that  when  I  took  up  the  pen  it  was  to  give  you  news  of 
your  friends,  and  to  describe  the  impression  made  on  my 
mind  by  the  objects  which  necessarily  present  themselves 
in  this  great  capital,  I  will  not  say  of  France,  but  of 
Europe.  And  have  I  done  it  ?  Yes,  for  the  one  great 
object  in  which  all  are  engaged  has  swallowed  up,  like  the 
rod  of  Aaron  in  Egypt,  every  other  enchantment  by  which 
France  was  fascinated." 

It  must  have  been  a  curious  and  melancholy  spectacle 
which  Paris  presented  to  a  thoughtful  man  and  a  for 
eigner  ;  one,  too,  just  from  a  society  very  new  and  decid 
edly  affected  by  the  Quaker  element.  The  convulsion 
which  was  already  shaking  society  to  its  foundation  every 
where  disturbed  the  atmosphere.  Intrigues,  social  and 
political,  were  rife  ;  the  Court  was  sinking  in  a  quicksand 
of  pleasure.  The  king  struggled,  in  a  feeble  way,  to  raise 
the  moral  standard,  but  not  to  any  extent  could  he  purify 
the  Court,  and  only  for  the  moment  could  he  pacify  the 
indignant  and  starving  multitude  who  clamored  outside 
the  palace-gates.  Fatigued  with  pleasure,  bored  with  ev 
erything,  the  young  men  recklessly  accumulated  debts, 
solely,  it  would  seem,  in  the  hope  of  amusing  themselves. 
But  Paris  was  gay,  full  of  men  and  things  to  interest  and 
amuse.  Philosophers,  patriots,  men  of  letters,  rioters, 
beautiful  women,  clever  and  witty,  leaders  of  society  and 
politics,  were  all  there.  Everything,  nearly,  could  be  found 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  23 

in  Paris,  "but  scavengers  and  lamps,"  as  Arthur  Young 
said.  The  streets  were  narrow  and  without  foot-pave 
ments  ;  they  were  dirty  and  crowded.  "To  walk  through 
them  was  toil  and  fatigue  to  a  man  and  an  impossibility 
to  a  well-dressed  woman,"  says  Young  again.  One-horse 
cabriolets  abounded,  driven  recklessly  by  young  men  of 
fashion,  endangering  life  and  limb.  Persons  of  moderate 
means,  unable  to  own  carriages,  were  forced  by  the  mud 
and  filth  to  dress  in  black,  with  black  stockings.  This  cir 
cumstance  alone  marked  strongly  the  line  between  the 
man  of  fortune  and  the  man  without.  Public  opinion  had 
somewhat  modified  the  dress  of  the  ladies,  and  the  enor 
mously  high  structure  which  had  been  supposed  to  adorn 
the  female  head  during  the  Regency  changed,  in  1780,  to 
a  low  coiffure,  started  by  the  queen,  and  called  the  "coif 
fure  a  1'enfant."  Four  years  later  the  chapeau  "  a  la  caisse 
d'escompte,  chapeau  sans  fond  comme  cette  caisse,"  *  came 
into  fashion.  Having  lost  the  elevated  head-dress,  than 
which  nothing  could  be  more  grotesque,  the  dress-makers 
proceeded  to  deform  nature  in  another  way,  and  the  enor 
mous  poches  came  into  vogue  which  made  a  woman  look 
like  a  "  Hottentot  Venus  "f  destroying  nature's  form. 
Extremely  high  heels,  much  rouge,  and  many  mouches 
were  supposed  to  heighten  their  beauty.  The  men,  sword 
at  the  side,  hat  under  the  arm,  with  very  trim,  high-heel 
shoes,  braided  or  embroidered  coats,  powdered  hair  caught 
together  at  the  back  in  a  small  bag,  called  a  bourse,  and 
with  two  watch-chains,  on  the  ends  of  which  hung  a  vast 
number  of  charms,  or  breloques,  were  to  be  seen  in  the 
street  carrying  themselves  with  much  stiffness  and  pride. 
This  bearing,  however,  changed  speedily  on  entering  the 
antechamber.  "A  marvellous  suppleness  attacked  their 
backs,  a  complacent  smile  succeeded  the  severe  one,  their 

*  Dulaure  :  Histoire  de  Paris.  t  Ibid. 


conversation  was  full  of  adulation  and  baseness."  *  By 
the  year  1791  the  seriousness,  not  to  say  the  terrors  of  the 
Revolution,  had  eradicated  much  of  this  nonsense ;  etiquette 
and  ceremonial  lost  their  power  ;  the  women  abandoned 
high  heels  and  powder,  and  the  men  put  their  hats  on 
their  heads,  gave  up  powder,  wore  their  hair  naturally, 
and  only  carried  swords  in  defence  of  their  country.  Even 
the  form  of  ending  a  letter  changed,  with  the  levelling  in 
fluence  of  the  times,  from  the  very  adulatory  and  elaborate 
method  to  simple  "  salutations  amicales  "  or  "assurances 
d'estime  ; "  "le  respect"  was  reserved  for  women  of  high 
position  and  old  people,  f 

In  strong  contrast  to  the  mincing  fine  gentleman,  pick 
ing  his  way  through  the  mire  and  filth  of  the  streets,  was 
the  pauper  element.  This  was  enormously  represented — 
a  stormy,  riotous  mob,  ready  for  anything,  and  employing 
their  time  begging  and  singing  rhymes  in  honor  of  the  third 
estate.  From  the  Palais  Royal  newspapers  advocating 
the  rights  of  the  third  party  literally  flowed,  and  found  a 
large  reading-public  ready  to  receive  them.  In  the  month 
of  June  pamphlets  were  in  all  hands  ;  "  even  lackeys  are 
poring  over  them  at  the  gates  of  hotels." J  "A  little 
later,  every  hour  produced  something  new.  Thirteen  came 
out  to-day,  sixteen  yesterday,  arid  ninety  last  week."  § 

These  tracts  were  spread  through  the  provinces  :  and 
nearly  all  of  them,  teeming  with  levelling  and  seditious 
principles,  advocated  liberty,  and  violence  against  the 
nobles  and  clergy.  Only  two  or  three  pamphlets  on  the 
other  side  had  merit  enough  to  be  known. 

As  early  as  February,  1789,  Necker  avowed  that  "  obedi 
ence  is  not  to  be  found  anywhere,  and  that  even  the  troops 
are  not  to  be  relied  on."  This  state  of  things  in  Paris 

*  Dulaure  :  Histoire  de  Paris.  t  Ibid. 

t  Ibid.  §  Arthur  Young. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  25 

ushered  in  the  meeting  of  the  States-General,  called,  after 
the  lapse  of  one  hundred  and  sixty  years,  to  work  seem 
ingly  impossible  reforms,  and  to  frame  a  constitution 
under  which  France  should  be  free  and  happy. 

The  commission  with  which  General  Washington  had 
intrusted  Morris  was  his  first  care,  and  he  at  once  ap 
plied  for  information  to  Mr.  Jefferson,  then  American 
Minister  at  Versailles  ;  and  in  a  letter  to  Washington  he 
tells  him  this,  and  that  the  man  who  had  made  Madison's 
watch  was  a  rogue,  and  recommended  him  to  another, 
namely,  Romilly.  "But  as  it  might  happen  that  this  also 
was  a  rogue,  I  inquired  at  a  very  honest  man's  shop,  not  a 
watchmaker,  and  he  recommended  Gregson.  A  gentleman 
with  me  assured  me  that  Gregson  was  a  rogue,  and  both 
of  them  agreed  that  Romilly  is  of  the  old  school,  and  he 
and  his  watches  out  of  fashion.  And  to  say  that  of  a  man 
in  Paris  is  like  saying  he  is  an  ordinary  man  among  the 
Friends  of  Philadelphia.  I  found  at  last  that  M.  L'Epine 
is  at  the  head  of  his  profession  here,  and,  in  consequence, 
asks  more  for  his  work  than  anybody  else.  I  therefore 
waited  on  M.  L'Epine  and  agreed  with  him  for  two  watches 
exactly  alike,  one  of  which  will  be  for  you  and  the  other 
for  me." 

Turning  to  public  affairs,  he  continues  :  "  Our  new  Con 
stitution  has  greatly  raised  our  reputation  in  Europe, 
but  your  appointment  and  acceptance  would  go  far  to  fix 
the  general  opinion  of  the  fact.  By  the  bye,  in  the  mel 
ancholy  situation  to  which  the  poor  King  of  England  has 
been  reduced,  there  were,  I  am  told,  (in  relation  to  you) 
some  whimsical  circumstances.  His  first  outset  was  to 
seize  Mr.  Pitt  by  the  collar  and  with  outrageous  language 
addressed  to  the  Rebel  General,  had  nearly  strangled  him 
before  he  could  get  help.  Afterwards  the  Defender  of  the 
Faith,  in  one  of  his  caprices,  conceived  himself  to  be  no 


less  a  personage  than  George  Washington  at  the  head  of 
the  American  Army.  This  shows  that  you  have  done  some 
thing  or  other  which  sticks  most  terribly  in  his  stomach. 
And  the  Prince  of  Wales  I  am  told  intends,  (no  doubt  from 
filial  piety  and  respect)  to  be  very  good  friends  with  the 
country  and  the  man  who  have  turned  his  father's  head." 
His  next  letter  was  addressed  to  Mr.  Carmichael,  the 
American  minister  at  Madrid  and  an  old  friend.  He  ex 
presses  his  attachment  to  him  and  desire  to  fly  to  him, 
if  he  were  not  restrained  by  important  objects,  to  be  at 
tended  to  at  once.  He  says  :  "  You  intimate  a  desire  to 
know  my  situation  and  intentions.  For  the  former  it  is 
simply  this  :  by  acquiring  property  I  have  placed  myself 
in  the  common  situation  of  desiring  more, — but  with  the 
same  frankness  with  which  I  avow  that  desire,  let  me  as 
sure  you  that  the  thirst  for  riches  has  never  yet  vitiated 
my  palate.  I  wish  not  to  accumulate,  but  to  enjoy.  And 
age  has  pointed  out  a  different  path  towards  enjoyment 
from  that  which  delighted  my  youthful  footsteps.  In  a 
word,  I  wrish  to  possess  what  I  possess  in  peace,  and  for  that 
purpose  I  want  lively  property.  Various  means  are  before 
me.  You  speak  of  becoming  an  American  farmer,  in  the 
last  result  and  as  a  last  resource.  I  have  ever  viewed  it  as 
my  great  desideratum.  But  let  it  for  both  of  us  be  otium  cum 
dignitate.  And  to  this  end  it  is  essential  to  possess  a  moder 
ate  share  of  fortune's  favors.  As  soon  as  I  can  I  shall  pro 
ceed  to  Holland.  But  I  contemplate  a  return  to  this  capi 
tal  as  speedily  as  possible,  and  from  hence  I  wish  to  go  to 
Madrid.  You  will  calculate,  however,  that  as  the  most  im 
portant  scene  enacted  for  many  years  on  the  European  the 
atre,  will  in  the  next  months  be  displayed  at  this  place, 
I,  in  common  with  all  others,  have  curiosity  to  see  it. 
You  must  also  consider  that  I  have  motives  stronger  than 
curiosity,  for  until  the  States-General  shall  have  decided 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  2/ 

on  the  important  objects  for  which  they  are  convened,  this 
government  can  take  no  solid  arrangement  for  anything. 
Lafayette  is  out  of  town.  He  is  gone  to  Auvergne  to  get 
himself  elected  either  for  the  Noblesse  or  the  Tiers  Etat. 
I  hope  the  former,  for  he  would  otherwise  (in  my  opinion) 
be  too  desperately  estranged  from  his  own  class.  As  he 
did  not  communicate  to  me  his  hesitation,  I  presume  that 
he  had  determined,  for  he  made  some  important  communi 
cations  just  before  his  departure.  Apropos — a  term  which 
my  Lord  Chesterfield  well  observes  all  generally  use  to 
bring  in  what  is  not  at  all  to  the  purpose — apropos,  then, 
I  have  here  the  strangest  employment  imaginable.  A  re 
publican,  and  just,  as  it  were,  emerged  from  that  assem 
bly  which  has  formed  one  of  the  most  republican  of  all 
republican  constitutions,  I  preach  incessantly  respect  for 
the  Prince,  attention  to  the  rights  of  the  nobility,  and  mod 
eration,  not  only  in  the  object  but  also  in  the  pursuit  of  it. 
All  this,  you  will  say,  is  none  of  my  business,  but  I  con 
sider  France  as  the  natural  ally  of  my  country — and  of 
course  that  we  are  interested  in  her  prosperity.  Besides, 
(to  say  the  truth)  I  love  France,  and  as  I  believe  the  King 
to  be  an  honest  and  good  man  I  sincerely  wish  him  well — 
and  the  more  so  as  I  am  persuaded  that  he  earnestly  de 
sires  the  felicity  of  his  people." 

Letters  to  prominent  people  gave  Morris  at  once  an  en 
tree  into  the  different  sets  of  society,  and  invitations  to 
breakfasts,  dinners,  and  suppers  were  not  wanting.  On 
one  occasion  only  he  mentioned  not  being  perfectly  mas 
ter  of  French,  which  he  had  not  spoken  since  his  school 
days,  but  it  was  not  long  before  he  acquired  an  uncommon 
facility  both  in  writing  and  speaking  it.  One  day  which 
he  mentions  seems  more  than  full.  It  began  with  a 
breakfast  at  M.  le  Normand's,  where  they  discussed  the 
tobacco  subject,  so  deeply  interesting  to  the  speculator 


as  well  as  the  smoker.  The  same  day  he  dined  with 
Madame  Dumolley,  who  included  in  her  society  the  ex 
tremely  noisy  element,  the  men  who  came  on  foot,  and  with 
out  the  adornments  of  dress.  Her  Monday  entertainments, 
and  small  intrigues  were  to  her  the  sole  end  and  aim  of  the 
week  ;  she  lived  for  them,  and  the  guests  who  were  the 
special  favorites  of  the  moment.  Madame  Dumolley  had 
a  pleasant  face  and  an  agreeable  varnish  of  politeness  ;  and 
this,  added  to  the  fact  that  she  never  failed  to  include  a 
more  or  less  vigorous  love-making  episode  in  her  pur 
suit  after  happiness,  rendered  her  salon  attractive.  She 
evidently  exhibited  a  taste  for  horticulture,  for  Morris 
promised  to  send  to  America  for  seeds  and  plants  for  her. 
Later  in  the  evening,  after  the  play,  a  supper  was  to  be  par 
taken  of  with  Madame  de  la  Caze,  at  whose  house  he  met  a 
large  party,  absorbed  in  quinze.  Here,  he  says  :  "M.  de 
Bersheni,  for  want  of  something  else  to  do,  asks  me  many 
questions  about  America,  in  a  manner  which  shows  he 
cares  little  for  the  information.  By  way  of  giving  him 
some  adequate  idea  of  our  people,  when  he  mentioned  the 
necessity  of  fleets  and  armies  to  secure  us  against  inva 
sion,  I  tell  him  that  nothing  would  be  more  difficult  than 
to  subdue  a  nation  every  individual  of  which,  in  the  pride 
of  freedom,  thinks  himself  a  king.  '  And  if,  sir,  you  should 
look  down  on  him,  would  say,  "  I  am  a  man.  Are  you  any 
thing  more  ?  "  l  All  this  is  very  well  ;  but  there  must  be  a 
difference  of  ranks,  and  I  should  say  to  one  of  these  peo 
ple,  "  You,  sir,  who  are  equal  to  a  king,  make  me  a  pair  of 
shoes."  '  '  Our  citizens,  sir,  have  a  manner  of  thinking 
peculiar  to  themselves.  This  shoemaker  would  reply, 
"  Sir,  I  am  very  glad  of  the  opportunity  to  make  you  a 
pair  of  shoes.  It  is  my  duty  to  make  shoes.  I  love  to  do 
my  duty." '  This  manner  of  thinking  and  speaking,  how 
ever,  is  too  masculine  for  the  climate  I  am  in." 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  29 

Most  of  the  mornings  were  passed  in  receiving  visits  and 
writing — not  only  keeping  up  a  correspondence,  daily  ac 
cumulating,  but  in  copying  all  his  own  letters  into  books 
and  generally  sending  duplicates  of  them  to  America  be 
sides.  A  letter  to  Robert  Morris  (March  2d)  requested 
him  to  send  Madame  Dumolley's  seeds,  and  begged  his  at 
tention  to  another  object,  which  was  to  "  obtain  forme  an 
account  of  the  American  tonnage — that  is,  the  number  of 
tons  of  the  vessels  of  U.  S.  I  want  this  for  the  Marechal 
de  Castries.  This  nobleman  was  so  kind  as  to  seek  an 
acquaintance  with  me  in  consequence  of  some  letters  I 
had  written  to  the  late  Marquis  de  Chastellux  and  which  he 
had  translated  and  shown  to  several  persons.  The  last  of 
these  letters  occupied  him  in  the  illness  which  proved 
fatal,  about  three  months  ago.  I  forget  the  contents  but 
in  my  rash  manner  I  had,  it  seems,  given  opinions  about 
the  situation  and  affairs  of  this  country  which  (luckily) 
proved  to  be  just.  Shortly  after  my  arrival  here  I  received 
a  message  from  Madame  de  Chastellux  desiring  a  visit  to 
the  wife  of  my  late  friend,  and  speedily,  as  she  was  on  the 
point  of  lying  in.  I  waited  upon  her,  and  two  days  after 
received  an  intimation  from  M.  de  Castries  that  as  he  was 
already  acquainted  with  me  through  the  letters  above 
mentioned  he  wished  for  an  interview,  etc.  In  conse 
quence  I  waited  on  him.  He  has  since  asked  me  to  din 
ner,  and  promised  to  present  me  to  M.  Necker,  to  whom  I 
have  not  yet  delivered  your  letter.  It  is  thought  that  M. 
de  Castries  will  again  be  made  Minister  of  the  Marine. 
He  both  expects  and  wishes  for  it,  and  he  is  an  intimate 
friend  of  M.  Necker  who,  as  I  have  already  told  you, 
holds  fast  to  the  farmers-general.  But  what  is  of  more 
consequence  in  my  eyes  than  situation  or  connection,  they 
are  men  of  honor  and  rectitude." 

The  Marechal  de  Chastellux  served  under  Rochambeau 


in  the  War  for  American  Independence,  in  1780.  Madame 
de  Chastellux,  an  extremely  charming  and  accomplished 
Irishwoman,  lady  in  waiting  to  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  * 
and  her  confidential  friend  and  companion,  drew  round  her 
those  immediately  connected  with  the  Court.  It  was  in 
her  salon,  very  shortly  after  his  arrival  in  Paris,  that  Mor 
ris  met  the  Duchess  of  Orleans,  the  beautiful  and  charming 
daughter  of  the  Due  de  Penthievre,  whose  love-marriage 
with  the  Due  de  Chartres,  who  became  the  Due  d'Orleans 
and,  later,  the  notorious  Philippe  Egalite,  had  been  hap 
py  until  about  this  time,  when  the  duke's  irregularities 
rendered  her  life  sad  and  uncertain.  With  her  Morris 
formed  a  sincere  and  lasting  friendship.  Here  also  he 
met  the  Comtesse  de  Segur,  who  told  him  at  the  first  meet 
ing  that  she  was  afraid  that  he  "  might  not  arrive  before 
she  left  the  room."  Among  the  six  or  seven  grand  salons 
of  Paris,  that  of  Madame  de  Segur  mtre,  the  natural  daugh 
ter  of  the  Regent,  had  for  years  occupied  a  conspicuous 
place  ;  and  she,  notwithstanding  her  age,  retained  all 
her  vivacity,  charming  young  and  old  alike  with  her 
memories  and  tales  of  the  Regent's  time  and  of  her  own 
eventful  life.  Her  daughter-in-law,  the  Marechale  de  Segur, 
who  always  aided  her  in  doing  the  honors,  added  to  the 
attraction  of  the  salon  by  her  gentle  grace  and  charming 
manner.  With  these  queens  of  the  salon  to  instruct  him, 
it  was  not  long  before  Morris,  being  an  apt  scholar, 
found  himself  fully  initiated  into  the  mysteries  of  coquetry  ; 
for  these  seductive  court  ladies  never  feared  to  follow 
their  flattering  words  with  the  "look,  manner,  and  tone 
of  voice  perfectly  in  unison  with  the  sentiment."  But 
Morris  was  wary  of  such  flatteries,  though  admitting  that 

*  The  Duchess  of  Orleans,  wife  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  cousin  to  Louis 
XVI.,  daughter  of  the  Due  de  Penthievre  and  sister-in-law  of  the  unfortu 
nate  Princesse  de  Lamballe. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  31 

"a  pleasing  error  might  be  preferable  to  a  disagree 
able  truth."  In  March  he  wrote  to  Washington,  and 
expressed  his  unbounded  surprise  at  "  the  astonishing 
spectacle"  which,  he  said,  "this  country  presents  to  one 
who  has  collected  his  ideas  from  books  and  information 
half  a  dozen  years  old.  Everything  is  a  ranglaise,  and  the 
desire  to  imitate  the  English  prevails  alike  in  the  cut  of  a 
coat,  and  the  form  of  a  constitution.  Like  the  English, 
too,  all  are  engaged  in  parliamenteering,  and  when  we  con 
sider  how  novel  this  last  business  must  be,  I  assure  you 
their  progress  is  far  from  contemptible." 

On  Tuesday  (March  3d),  the  salon  of  Madame  la  Com- 
tesse  de  Beauharnais  was  opened  to  him,  by  an  invitation 
of  a  week's  standing,  to  dine  at  three  o'clock.  Setting  off 
in  great  haste,  to  be  punctual,  and  arriving  at  a  quarter 
past  the  hour,  he  found  in  the  drawing-room  "  some  dirty 
linen  and  no  fire."  While  the  waiting-woman  takes  away 
one,  a  valet  lights  up  the  other.  Three  small  sticks  in  a 
deep  heap  of  ashes  give  no  great  expectation  of  heat.  By 
the  smoke,  however,  all  doubts  are  removed  respecting 
the  existence  of  fire.  To  expel  the  smoke  a  window  is 
opened,  and  the  day  being  cold  I  have  the  benefit  of  as 
fresh  air  as  can  reasonably  be  expected  in  so  large  a  city. 
Towards  4  o'clock  the  guests  begin  to  assemble,  and  I  be 
gin  to  suspect  that  as  madame  is  a  poetess,  I  shall  have 
the  honor  to  dine  with  that  excellent  part  of  the  species 
who  devote  themselves  to  the  Muses.  In  effect,  the 
gentlemen  begin  to  compliment  their  respective  works, 
and  as  regular  hours  cannot  be  expected  in  a  house 
where  the  mistress  is  occupied  more  with  the  intellect 
ual  than  the  material  world,  I  have  the  delightful  pros 
pect  of  a  continuance  of  the  scene.  Towards  five,  ma- 
dame  steps  in  to  announce  dinner,  and  the  hungry  poets 
advance  to  the  charge.  As  they  bring  good  appetites 


they  have  certainly  reason  to  praise  the  feast,  and  I 
console  myself  in  the  persuasion  that  for  this  day  at 
least  I  shall  escape  indigestion.  A  very  narrow  escape, 
too,  for  some  rancid  butter  of  which  the  cook  had  been 
very  liberal,  puts  me  in  bodily  fear.  If  the  repast  is  not 
abundant  we  have  at  least  the  consolation  that  there  is  no 
lack  of  conversation.  Not  being  perfectly  master  of  the 
language,  most  of  the  jests  escape  me  ;  as  for  the  rest  of 
the  company,  each  being  employed  either  in  saying  a  good 
thing,  or  studying  one  to  say,  'tis  no  wonder  if  he  cannot 
find  time  to  explain  that  of  his  neighbor.  They  all  agree 
that  we  live  in  an  age  alike  deficient  in  justice  and  in  taste. 
Each  finds  in  the  fate  of  his  own  works  numerous  instances 
to  justify  the  censure.  They  tell  me,  to  my  great  surprise, 
that  the  public  now  condemn  theatrical  compositions  be 
fore  they  have  heard  the  first  recitals,  and  to  remove  my 
doubts,  the  comtesse  is  so  kind  as  to  assure  me  that  this 
rash  decision  has  been  made  on  one  of  her  own  pieces. 
In  pitying  modern  degeneracy,  we  rise  from  the  table.  I 
take  my  leave  immediately  after  the  coffee,  which  by  no 
means  dishonors  the  precedent  repast,  and  madame  in 
forms  me  that  on  Tuesdays  and  Thursdays  she  is  always 
at  home,  and  will  always  be  glad  to  see  me.  While  I 
stammer  out  some  return  to  the  compliment,  my  heart, 
convinced  of  my  unworthiness  to  partake  of  such  Attic 
entertainment,  makes  me  promise  never  again  to  occupy 
the  place,  from  which,  perhaps,  I  had  excluded  a  worthier 

On  the  5th  of  March  Mr.  Jefferson  and  Mr.  Morris  went 
together  to  Versailles,  the  latter  to  be  presented  to  the 
Comte  de  Montmorin,*  then  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs, 

*  Saint  Herene  de  Montmorin  became  Minister  of  the  Interior  in  1791. 
He  was  condemned  by  the  Revolutionary  Tribunal,  and  executed  in  Sep 
tember,  1792. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  33 

and  to  deliver  his  letters  to  him.  He  found  him  civil,  but 
in  a  polite  way  he  rather  intimated  that  "  he  had  already 
more  trouble  than  he  desires  with  strangers.  Thence  to 
the  Comte  de  Caluzem,  who  receives  me  with  a  degree  of 
hauteur  I  never  before  experienced.  On  reading  my  let 
ters  of  introduction  from  his  brother  the  Marquis,  his 
features  and  manner  are  at  once  softened  into  affability, 
and  the  gout  in  one  foot  takes  the  blame  of  the  prece 
dent  looks,  which  I  believe  had  produced  something  cor 
respondent  in  my  features.  I  render  the  visit  as  short  as 
possible,  and  wait  on  the  Comte  d'Angivilliers,  whose 
politeness  compensates  in  a  great  degree  for  the  ministe 
rial  atmosphere  I  have  just  now  breathed.  In  spite  of  pre 
determination,  my  visit  is  too  long,  and  thus  by  being 
troublesome  I  pay  a  compliment,  whose  value  he  cannot 
be  sensible  of.  This  visit,  short  as  it  is,  and  the  first  I 
ever  made  to  a  court,  has  convinced  me  that  I  am  not 
formed  to  succeed  there.  Return  to  Paris  and  dine  with 
Madame  de  Tesse — republicans  of  the  first  feather.  The 
countess,  who  is  a  very  sensible  woman,  has  formed  her 
ideas  of  government  in  a  manner  not  suited,  I  think,  either 
to  the  situation,  the  circumstances,  or  the  disposition  of 
France,  and  there  are  many  such." 

The  evening  of  this  rather  eventful  day  was  passed  in 
the  salon  of  Madame  de  Chastellux,  where  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans  was  also  whiling  away  an  hour.  "Madame  de 
Chastellux  presents  me  to  her  Highness,  informing  me  that 
she  had  the  goodness  to  permit  of  my  reception.  In  the 
course  of  the  visit,  her  Royal  Highness  has  the  conde 
scension  to  speak  to  one  who  is  only  a  human  being.  My 
morning's  course  has  taught  me  the  value  of  a  few  words 
uttered  in  a  gentle  tone  from  such  a  character." 

The  reckless  driving  in  the  streets  of  Paris — a  peculiar 
ity  remarked  to-day  by  visitors  to  the  French  capital — 


Morris  rather  humorously  ridicules  in  the  following  lines, 
entitled  "  Paris  :  " 

"  A  coachman  driving  furious  on, 
For  here,  to  fly  is  quite  the  ton, 
Thro'  the  thick  vapors  of  the  night, 
Sees  by  a  glimmering  lamp's  dim  light, 
Some  creature  stniggling  in  the  street, 
Which  soon  beneath  his  horses  feet 
Is  trod,  and  there  in  anguish  feels 
The  crushing  of  the  chariot  wheels. 
'  Villain  !  '  exclaims  the  aged  count, 
'  Stop  !  ho  !  the  guard  ;  bougez,  dismount. 
The  law,  pardieu,  shall  have  its  course.' 
(Au  Commits  air  e?)    '  He  has  killed  my  horse.' 
'  Seigneur,'  replies  the  poor  cocher, 
'  Moi,  humbly  I  your  pardon  pray. 
Had  I  supposed  a  horse  lay  there 
I  would  have  taken  better  care. 
But  by  St.  Jacques  declare  I  can 
I  thought  'twas  nothing  but  a  mau  /  '  " 

A  dinner  was  given  to  Morris  on  the  7th  of  March  by 
the  Baron  de  Montvoissieu  "  at  the  request  of  M.  de  Males- 
herbes,*  who  is  there — a  pleasant,  respectable  old  man, 
whose  daughter,  Madame  de  Montvoissieu,  has  five  fine 
children.  It  has  the  effect  of  rendering  her  happy.  At 
least  she  has  more  the  appearance  than  any  other  woman  I 
have  seen  here.  M.  1'Eveque  d'Arras  tells  me  our  new 
Constitution  is  the  best  that  has  ever  yet  been  found, 
but  has  some  faults  which  arise  from  our  imitation  of  the 

M.  de  Malesherbes  quite  captivated  Morris,  who  spoke 
enthusiastically  of  him  in  a  letter  to  the  Marquis  de 

*  Chretien  Guillaume  de  Lamoignon  de  Malesherbes,  a  judge,  philanthro 
pist,  and  man  of  letters.  In  1775  appointed  Minister  of  the  King's  Household 
and  of  the  Police  ;  resigned  in  1776.  In  1792,  when  the  king  was  arraigned  by 
the  Convention,  Malesherbes  offered  his  services,  which  were  accepted,  but  his 
act  was  resented  by  the  Terrorists,  and  he  fell  a  victim  to  the  guillotine. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  35 

la  Luzerne,  then  ambassador  at  London.  "  I  am  in 
love,"  he  wrote,  "  with  one  of  your  family,  and  this  is 
not  singular,  for  everyone  else  has  the  same  passion, 
though  not  perhaps  in  so  great  a  degree.  I  am  sure  you 
will  not  accuse  me  of  want  of  taste,  when  I  tell  you  that 
the  person  in  question  is  M.  de  Malesherbes.  He  has  so 
much  goodness  and  so  much  serenity  that  it  is  impossible 
not  to  feel  a  very  sincere  affection  for  him.  I  must  tell 
you  how  glad  I  should  have  been  to  have  met  you  here, 
where  there  are  a  thousand  things  in  which  a  stranger  has 
need  of  advice,  but  although  I  much  regret  your  absence, 
yet  I  have  too  much  affection  for  you  to  wish  you  here. 
France  seems  to  be  in  a  situation  which,  terminate  as  it 
may  with  respect  to  public  affairs,  cannot  fail  eventually 
to  produce  dissensions  in  private  circles.  .  .  .  Stay 
where  you  are  a  little  while,  and  when  you  come  back  you 
will  hardly  know  your  country.  As  yet  the  spectacles 
hold  some  share  in  the  conversation,  but  I  hear  as  much 
politics  among  the  ladies  of  Paris  as  ever  you  did  among 
those  of  Philadelphia.  Republicanism  is  absolutely  a 
moral  influenza,  from  which  neither  titles,  places,  nor  even 
the  diadem  can  guard  their  possessor.  If  when  the  States- 
General  assemble  their  debates  should  be  published,  the 
Lord  preserve  us  from  a  hot  summer." 

Mr.  Jefferson,  the  American  minister,  was  just  on  the 
eve  of  departure  for  America,  and  no  one  had  as  yet  been 
appointed  in  his  place.  "The  Comte  de  Puisignieu," 
Morris  says,  "  tells  me  that  I  must  stay  in  France  to  fill 
Jefferson's  place,  by  which  I  understand  a  wish  to  discover 
if  I  have  any  views  and  expectations.  I  assure  him  with 
great  truth  that  I  have  no  desire  to  be  in  that  place  even 
if  it  were  vacant."  It  was  not  long  after  the  evening 
spent  in  Madame  de  Tesse's  republican  salon  that  Morris 
was  told  by  Madame  de  Lafayette  that  she  considered  him 


an  aristocrat,  and  in  consequence  of  his  conversation  with 
Madame  de  Tesse — that  enthusiast  who  had  worked  for 
years  to  make  a  constitution  for  France,  and  was  ready  to 
shed  her  last  drop  of  blood  if  perchance  she  might  see  it 
accepted  ;  and  it  was  doubtless  not  a  little  surprising  to 
Morris  to  discover  that  "  his  ideas  were  too  moderate  for 
that  company." 

Another  surprise  seems  to  have  been  the  cold,  uncom 
fortable  weather  which  he  found,  instead  of  the  "  smiling 
European  spring  about  which,"  he  says,  "so  much  has 
been  said  and  sung."  "To-day  the  face  of  the  country  is 
that  of  January,  all  white,"  he  mentions  in  his  diary,  "  and 
from  present  appearances  one  would  hardly  expect  the 
genial  spring  ever  to  come." 

The  hurry  of  life  in  Paris  evidently  troubled  him,  for  in 
a  letter  to  his  brother  (March  nth)  he  says  : 

"  I  have  one  great  objection  to  Paris,  which  is  that  I 
have  not  a  moment's  time.  The  amusements  I  cannot 
partake  of  because  my  business  in  the  morning  and  my 
engagements  till  midnight  keep  me  in  a  perpetual  hurry. 
I  have  seen  enough  to  convince  me  that  a  man  might  in 
this  city  be  incessantly  employed  for  forty  years  and  grow 
old  without  knowing  what  he  had  been  about.  This  is  a 
charming  circumstance  for  those  who,  having  nothing  to 
do,  would  otherwise  be  obliged  to  study  how  best  to  kill 
old  time,  and  who  waste  their  hours  in  constant  complaints 
that  the  days  of  man  are  short  and  few." 

During  the  spring  the  affairs  of  a  certain  Mr.  Nesbitt, 
who  seemed  to  be  in  a  chronic  state  of  hiding  from 
his  creditors,  gave  Morris  more  or  less  trouble,  and  no 
small  share  of  amusement,  owing  to  various  contretemps, 
while  seeking  the  presence  of  certain  ministers  "  with 
whom,"  he  said,  "  I  am  utterly  unacquainted."  One  en 
counter  he  particularly  mentioned,  where  he  was  to  go  to 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  37 

Versailles  and  call  upon  M.  DeVille  Delville,  and  where 
"  I  am  to  make  the  modest  request  that  he  will  grant  me 
the  favor  to  stop  the  usual  course  of  law  and  justice." 

A  letter  from  Count  Dillon*  was  to  open  the  way  to  an 
interview  with  the  Minister.  But  it  is  best  to  let  Mor 
ns  tell  his  own  experience  of  approaching  so  high  a  per 
sonage.  "Arrived  at  Versailles,"  he  says,  "  the  coachman 
sets  me  down  at  the  door  of  M.  de  Puisegur,  Minis 
ter  at  War.  After  waiting  for  my  turn  I  address  the  Min 
ister  by  asking  if  he  is  M.  DeVille  Delville,  to  whom  I 
have  the  honor  of  addressing  myself.  He  informs  me 
of  my  mistake,  and  as  he  is  a  man  of  the  sword  and  not  of 
the  robe,  this  mistake  is  not  a  small  one."  Finally,  when 
M.  Delville  is  found  and  appealed  to  for  help  he  refuses 
to  understand  reason  ;  and  the  next  morning  the  unfortu 
nate  Mr.  Nesbitt  woke  Morris  at  any  early  hour,  by 
rushing  into  his  chamber  to  escape  from  the  officer.  "  I 
get  up,"  Morris  says,  "  and  endeavor  to  persuade  this 
latter  to  go  away  ;  but  it  will  not  do.  He  has  already  sent 
for  the  commissary  and  the  guard.  Presently  they  arrive 
in  their  respective  uniforms,  and  as  the  door  is  kept 
bolted  a  locksmith  is  also  sent  for.  He  comes,  and  before 
the  application  of  his  tools  I  inform  Mr.  Nesbitt  of  what 
has  passed,  and  he  comes  out.  He  contends  that  they 
cannot  take  him,  because  he  has  not  been  duly  summoned. 
But  the  officer  produces  a  certificate  that  he  has.  And 
although  this  is  certainly  false,  yet  justice  must  believe 
its  own  instruments.  He  sets  off  for  the  bureau  and  I  go 
and  make  interest  for  his  release.  Nesbitt  is  nevertheless 
dragged  to  1'Hotel  de  Force  and  detained  there  some 

*  Count  Arthur  Dillon,  a  French  general,  chosen  a  deputy  to  the  States- 
General  in  1789.  Later  he  served  under  Dumouriez,  but  was  disaffected 
toward  the  new  regime  and  was  recalled  in  1793,  imprisoned,  and  perished 
on  the  guillotine  in  1794. 


time.  "I  go  to  the  Comte  de  Puisignieu  to  supper.  Hear 
that  Lafayette  is  like  to  lose  his  election  in  Auvergne — a 
circumstance  which  gives  great  pleasure,  I  find,  to  some 
persons  here.  His  conduct  is  much  disapproved  of,  as 
indeed  is  naturally  to  be  expected,  by  all  those  attached 
to  the  order  of  nobility.  I  believe  he  has  mixed  a  little 
too  deep,  for  I  am  very  much  mistaken  if  he  is  not, 
without  knowing  it  himself,  a  much  greater  aristocrat  than 
those  of  the  party  opposed  to  him.  In  effect,  as  the  con 
stitution  of  this  country  must  inevitably  undergo  some 
change  which  will  lessen  the  monarchical  power,  it  is 
clear  that  unless  the  nobles  acquire  a  constitutional  sanc 
tion  to  some  of  their  privileges,  if  will  be  in  the  power  of 
the  ministry  afterwards  to  confound  them  entirely  with 
the  people,  (according  to  the  strange  doctrine  supported 
by  the  Duke  of  Orleans)  and  the  result  must  be  either  a 
tyranny  of  one  in  the  first  instance  or  as  a  consequence  of 
the  anarchy  which  would  result  from  giving  the  wretched 
constitution  of  the  Pennsylvania  legislature  to  the  King 
dom  of  France." 

As  to  the  distress  among  the  paupers  of  Paris  during 
this  spring,  Morris,  who  fearlessly  and  harmlessly  walked 
or  drove  through  every  part  of  the  town,  observing  closely 
as  he  went,  wrote  to  his  brother,  General  Morris,  then  in 
England,  as  follows  : 

"  I  believe  your  apprehensions  of  the  sufferings  of 
people  here  from  cold  are  not  unfounded.  But  they 
have  in  that  respect  an  advantage  which  you  did  not 
think  of  ;  viz.,  that  they  are  stowed  so  close,  and  in 
such  little  cabins,  that  if  they  live  through  the  first  few 
months  they  have  an  atmosphere  of  their  own  about  them. 
In  effect,  none  of  the  beggars  I  have  seen  complain  to  me 
of  cold.  They  all  ask  for  the  means  to  get  a  morsel  of 
bread,  and  show  by  their  countenance  that  by  bread  they 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  39 

mean  wine.  And  if  the  vintners  were  to  interpret  this 
last  word,  the  poor  devils  would  find  that  it  means  a  very 
different  kind  of  liquor.  Among  the  objects  which  pre 
sent  themselves,  doubtless  some  are  deserving  of  charity, 
but  these  are  scarcely  to  be  noticed  in  the  crowd  of  pre 
tenders.  However,  they  get  from  me  all  my  small  change, 
and  I  must  confess,  to  my  shame,  that  I  give  rather  for 
peace'  sake  than  through  benevolence.  The  rascals  have, 
I  suppose,  found  out  by  studying  human  nature  that  each 
man  loves  himself  better  than  his  neighbor,  and  therefore 
make  it  his  interest  to  give.  The  rich,  in  return,  as  pat 
rons  of  industry,  are  vastly  inattentive  to  these  importu 
nities,  and  by  withholding  their  alms  try  to  make  it  the 
interest  of  the  others  to  work  rather  than  to  beg.  The 
effects  of  habit  on  each  are  wonderful.  Not  long  since  I 
saw  a  gentleman  of  my  acquaintance  weep  at  an  air  of  an 
opera,  who  had  heard  a  beggar  clatter  his  crutches  in  pur 
suit  of  him  for  the  length  of  a  street  without  turning 
round  to  look  at  him.  'Tis  true  there  is  a  difference  in  the 

"You  are  right  in  your  idea  that  our  contest  has  given  a 
confused  notion  of  liberty  to  this  country,  but  there  are 
many  persons  here  whose  views  are  very  clear  and  dis 
tinct.  It  is  highly  probable  that  a  constitution  will  be  es 
tablished,  as  free  as  is  consistent  with  their  manners  and 
situation  ;  in  which  case  the  King  will  gain  more  abroad 
than  he  loses  at  home,  if,  indeed,  it  can  be  called  a  loss  to 
part  with  the  power  of  doing  mischief  and  retain  only  the 
power  of  doing  good.  If  the  indisposition  of  the  King  of 
England  should  keep  their  politics  a  little  more  at  home, 
the  nation  will  be  much  happier.  That  preponderance 
which  Britain  had  gained  during  the  peace,  from  the  cir 
cumstances  in  which  other  nations  found  themselves,  and 
which  has  led  to  a  very  dictatorial  conduct  that  by  those 


same  circumstances  became  successful,  would,  I  fear, 
have  soon  set  the  world  again  on  fire,  and  it  is  ten  to  one 
that  her  own  feathers  would  have  been  singed  in  the  gen 
eral  combustion." 

"At  supper  to-night  [March  lyth]  in  the  salon  of  the 
Baron  de  Besenval,"  *  the  diary  mentions,  "  M.  le  Comte 
de  Puisignieu,  who  has  an  estate  in  St.  Dominique, 
asks  me  to  speak  to  M.  de  Malesherbes  on  the  com 
merce  of  the  Islands.  This  apropos  of  the  letter  written 
some  years  before  on  this  subject  to  the  Marquis  de  Chas- 
tellux.  I  tell  him  that  I  have  no  wit  to  talk  with  their 
ministers  on  public  affairs,  but  if  he  chooses  to  ask  my 
ideas  it  will  be  my  duty  to  give  them,  after  his  very  par 
ticular  attention  to  me.  In  effect,  I  had  rather  leave  our 
affairs  in  the  hands  of  our  Minister,  and  give  him  my 

From  this  time  Morris  became  deeply  engaged  in 
large  affairs  of  public  interest  to  America  and  France. 
In  a  long  conversation  on  the  i8th  of  March  with  William 
Short,  Secretary  of  the  United  States  Legation  under  Jef 
ferson,  speculations  in  American  bonds  and  the  purchase 
of  the  debt  of  the  United  States  to  France,  were  discussed 
at  length,  and  Morris  expressed  himself  willing  to  take 
an  interest  for  himself  and  his  friends,  in  speculations 
of  this  kind  "  which  are  well  founded — provided  always 
there  be  nothing  in  them  prejudicial  to  the  United  States 
or  inconsistent  with  personal  honor  or  integrity."  Din 
ing  with  M.  de  Malesherbes  the  evening  of  this  same 
day,  he  hinted  to  him  "  the  idea  of  supplying  the  garrison 
in  the  French  Islands  from  America  and  of  furnishing 

*  Baron  de  Besenval,  lieutenant  of  the  Swiss.  The  women,  owing  to  his 
gray  hairs,  had  great  confidence  in  him.  He  was  considered  the  best  racon 
teur  in  the  salon  of  Madame  Jules  de  Polignac.  He  was  tried  for  his  life  on 
the  charge  of  being  an  aristocrat  and  trying  to  fly  from  France,  but  was  ac 
quitted  in  March,  1790. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  41 

salt  beef  to  the  fleet."  Certainly  Morris  found  no  dif 
ficulty  in  filling  the  days  with  work  and  society  duties, 
if  paying  thirteen  calls  on  various  ladies,  besides  having 
long  conversations  on  the  Nesbitt  affair  with  Parker,  on 
the  purchase  of  the  debt  to  France  with  M.  Le  Coulteux  * 
the  banker,  a  pleasant  hour  of  gossip  with  Madame  de 
Chastellux,  and  ending  the  day  with  a  supper  at  Madame 
de  Corney's,  "  when  we  have  some  good  music,"  meant 

"  Colonel  Laumoy  breakfasts  with  me  to-day,"  he  says 
in  his  diary  for  March  2ist,  and  we  go  together  to  Versailles, 
invite  ourselves  to  dine  with  the  Count  d'Angivilliers,  and 
look  at  the  apartments  in  the  Castle  of  Versailles.  This 
is  an  immense  monument  of  the  vanity  and  folly  of  Louis 
Fourteenth.  We  see  neither  the  King  nor  the  Queen,  but 
as  we  come  not  to  look  for  them  this  is  no  misfortune. 
Like  the  other  hangers  on  of  the  Court,  we  desire  not 
them,  but  theirs — with  this  difference,  however,  that  we 
mean  to  gratify  curiosity,  not  cupidity.  The  King  is  well 
lodged — the  Queen's  apartments  I  cannot  see  because  Her 
Majesty  is  there,  but  it  is  ten  to  one  that  I  should  like  her 
better  than  any  other  part  of  the  furniture.  Her  picture, 
however,  by  Madame  Lebrun,  will  do  as  well,  and  perhaps 
better,  for  it  is  very  beautiful,  doubtless  as  much  so  as  the 

It  was  at  Versailles  in  the  salon  of  Madame  Cabanis, 
wife  of  the  celebrated  physiologist  and  physician,  Pierre 
Jean  George  Cabanis,  the  personal  friend  of  Mirabeau, 

*The  firm  of  Le  Coulteux  de  Cantaleu,  bankers,  of  Rouen,  was  of  great 
antiquity  even  in  the  time  of  Louis  Fourteenth,  who,  desirous  of  encourag 
ing  commerce  and  breaking  down  the  barriers  which  prejudice  had  raised 
against  it,  offered  to  give  the  members  of  the  firm  letters  of  nobility.  They 
refused  the  offer,  saying  that  they  preferred  the  reputation  of  old  merchants 
to  that  of  new  nobles,  and  would  rather  be  at  the  head  of  one  class  than  at 
the  tail  of  the  other. 


and  the  ami  de  la  maison  of  Condorcet,  that  Morris  first 
met  Madame  de  Flahaut,  the  romance  writer,  the  friend 
of  Montesquieu  and  of  the  Bishop  of  Autun.  She  was 
at  this  time  in  the  glory  of  her  youth  and  attractions,  with 
possibly  a  touch  of  sadness  about  her  and  certainly  a  rare 
sympathy,  which,  added  to  her  thoroughly  trained  mind, 
with  its  decidedly  philosophical  cast,  gave  her  an  uncom 
mon  power  over  men.  Hers  had  been  a  strange  life. 
Married  at  fifteen  to  the  Comte  de  Flahaut,  then  quite 
fifty — who  had  denied  himself  no  excess  of  dissipation — 
she  found  herself  coldly  neglected.  The  Abbe  Perigord, 
who  had  performed  the  marriage  ceremony  for  her,  be 
came  her  friend,  companion,  and  instructor — for  to  him 
she  owed  the  opening  and  training  of  her  intellect — and 
he  became  also  the  father  of  her  only  child,  who  was 
named  Charles,  after  the  abbe.  But  to  return  to  the  diary. 
"Madame  de  Flahaut,"  Morris  says,  "entered  the  room 
with  her  sister  Madame  d'Angivilliers,  the  wife  of  M. 
Bellarderie  d'Angivilliers,  Director-General  of  the  Navy. 
She  speaks  English  and  is  a  pleasing  woman  ;  if  I  might 
judge  from  appearances,  not  a  sworn  enemy  to  intrigue." 
Madame  Adele  de  Flahaut,  during  the  dark  days  of  the 
Revolution,  received  many  substantial  proofs  of  friendship 
from  Morris.  She  was  destined  to  fly  for  her  life  and  to 
be  made  a  widow  by  the  guillotine  in  1793. 

Those  were  pleasant  days  and  evenings  in  the  grand 
salons  of  the  Palais  Royal,  and  the  lesser  ones  of  Paris  p 
generally,  before  the  Terror  came.  A  change  had  undoubt 
edly  come  since  the  time  of  Louis  XV.  There  was  no  longer 
dancing,  and  fewer  love-making  couples  scattered  about 
the  room  ;  large  groups  of  people  came  together  for  more 
general  conversation.  The  gaming  table  was  always  to  be 
found,  where  one  woman  and  an  abbe  tried  their  luck  with 
the  dice-box  ;  while  someone  reading  a  book  by  the  win- 

1789.]  -  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  43 

dow  was  not  an  uncommon  sight.  "The  society  was 
there,"  Goncourt  says,  "  but  not  the  pleasure  of  the  salons 
of  the  time  of  Louis  Fifteenth."  But  the  ladies  had  not,  as 
yet,  lost  their  spirits  by  reason  of  the  sorrows  that  came 
later,  and  their  natural  grace  of  manner  and  mind  lent  a 
charm  to  their  conversation  that  nothing  else  could  give. 
Morris  surely  counted  himself  born  under  a  fortunate 
star  to  be  the  favored  guest  of  such  as  they.  In  the  bou 
doir  of  the  lovely  Madame  de  Duras-Dufurt,  the  friend 
of  Madame  de  Stael  and  an  authoress,  he  was  one  even 
ing  wholly  charmed  by  the  surroundings.  "  For  the  first 
time,"  he  says,  "  I  have  an  idea  of  the  music  which 
may  be  drawn  from  the  harp.  In  the  boudoir  of  madame, 
adjoining  the  salon,  I  have  the  pleasure  to  sit  for  an  hour 
alone  by  a  light  exactly  resembling  twilight,  the  temperature 
of  the  air  brought  to  perfect  mildness — and  the  sweetest 
sounds.  Later  in  the  evening  came  a  change  of  scene,  and 
a  bishop  from  Languedoc  makes  tea  and  the  ladies  who 
choose  it  stand  round  and  take  each  their  dish.  This 
would  seem  strange  in  America,  and  yet  it  is  by  no  means 
more  so  than  the  Chevalier  de  Louis  who  begged  alms  of 
me  this  morning  after  introducing  himself  by  his  own  let 
ter."  Going  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's  one  evening 
(March  25th)  Morris  found  himself  among  the  noblesse,  and 
in  a  few  moments  after  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  appeared. 
"  The  duchess,"  he  says,  "is  affable  and  handsome  enough 
to  punish  the  duke  for  his  irregularities.  Madame  de 
Segur  goes  away  early,  as  the  company  seem  determined  to 
increase.  The  widow  of  the  late  Duke  of  Orleans  comes 
in,  and  at  going  away,  according  to  custom,  kisses  the 
duchess.  I  observe  that  the  ladies  of  Paris  are  very  fond  of 
each  other,  which  gives  room  to  some  observations  from  her 
Royal  Highness  on  the  person  who  has  just  quitted  the 
room,  which  show  that  the  kiss  does  not  always  betoken 


great  affection.  In  going  away  she  is  pleased  to  say  that 
she  is  glad  to  have  met  me,  and  I  believe  her.  The  reason 
is  that  I  dropped  some  expressions  and  sentiments  a  little 
rough,  and  which  were  agreeable  because  they  contrast  with 
the  palling  polish  she  constantly  meets  with  everywhere. 
Hence  I  conclude  that  the  less  I  have  the  honor  of  such 
good  company  the  better,  for  when  the  novelty  ceases  all  is 
over,  and  I  shall  probably  be  worse  than  insipid.  Every 
body  complains  of  the  weather  and  yet  the  weather  don't 
mend.  It  could  not  be  worse  if  we  praised  it." 

The  diary  notes  that  "  on  Friday  [March  27th]  the  Mare- 
chal  de  Castries  calls  and  takes  me  to  dine  with  M.  and 
Madame  Necker.*  In  the  salon  we  find  Madame  de  Stael. 
She  seems  to  be  a  woman  of  sense  and  somewhat  mascu 
line  in  her  character,  but  has  very  much  the  appearance  of 
a  chambermaid.  A  little  before  dinner  M.  Necker  enters. 
He  has  the  look  and  manner  of  the  counting-house,  and, 
being  dressed  in  embroidered  velvet,  he  contrasts  strongly 
with  his  habiliments.  His  bow,  his  address,  etc.,  say,  '/ 
am  the  man.'  Our  company  is  one  half  Academicians. 
The  Duchess  of  Biron,  formerly  Lauzun,  is  one.  I  observe 
that  M.  Necker  seems  occupied  by  ideas  whch  rather 
distress  him.  He  cannot,  I  think,  stay  in  office  half  an 
hour  after  the  nation  insist  on  keeping  him  there.  He  is 
much  harassed  and  madame  receives  continually  memoires 
from  different  people,  so  that  she  seems  as  much  occupied 

*  Jacques  Necker,  Prime  Minister  of  France,  was  a  native  of  Switzerland. 
The  first  public  exposition  of  the  revenue  and  expenses  of  the  State  was 
made  by  him  in  his  famous  compte  rendu  published  in  1781  and  which  was  re 
ceived  with  great  favor  ;  but,  later,  his  reforms  made  for  him  many  enemies  at 
Court  and  elsewhere.  He  succeeded  Brienne  as  Prime  Minister  or  Comp 
troller  of  Finances  about  September  i,  1788.  He  favored  the  Revolution  by 
granting  to  the  Tiers  Etat  a  double  number  of  deputies.  On  the  I  ith  of  July, 
1789,  he  was  suddenly  dismissed,  but  was  recalled  on  the  2istof  July,  and  re 
mained  in  office  until  September,  1790,  when,  becoming  convinced  that  he 
was  too  conservative  to  satisfy  the  popular  party,  he  resigned,  and  passed  the 
rest  of  his  life  at  Coppet. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  45 

as  he  is.  If  he  is  a  really  great  man  I  am  deceived,  and 
yet  this  is  a  rash  judgment  ;  but  how  can  one  help  forming 
some  judgment  ?  If  he  is  not  a  laborious  man  I  am  also 
deceived.  From  dinner  I  visit  Madame  de  Chastellux. 
After  being  there  some  time  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  en 
ters.  We  have  a  trio  for  half  an  hour.  She  has  something 
or  the  other  which  weighs  heavy  at  her  heart,  perhaps  the 
'besoin  d'etre  aimee,'  that  '  painful  void  left  aching  in  the 
breast.'  I  make  an  apology  for  her  husband's  wildness, 
by  advising  her  to  breed  her  son,  M.  de  Beaujolais,  to 
business,  because  otherwise  at  five  and  twenty,  having  en 
joyed  all  which  rank  and  fortune  can  give  him,  he  will  be 
unhappy  from  not  knowing  what  to  do  with  himself.  She 
repeats  that  she  is  very  glad  to  see  me  there.  This  is 
very  kind,  but  I  do  not  exactly  know  what  it  means." 

After  a  pleasant  hour  with  the  duchess  and  Madame  de 
Chastellux,  a  supper  with  the  Baron  de  Besenval  claimed 
attention.  "  A  large  party,"  he  says,  "  and  his  reputed  son, 
the  Vicomte  de  Segur,  is  one  of  the  number,  and  if  resem 
blances  and  caresses  may  be  taken  for  evidence  of  the 
fact  it  must  be  admitted.  This  young  man  is  the  Lovelace 
of  his  day  and  as  remarkable  for  seductions  as  his  father. 
He  does  not  want  for  understanding.  The  tone  of  the 
society  here  seems  to  be  that  it  was  not  worth  while  to 
call  the  States-General  for  such  a  trifle  as  the  deficit 
amounts  to.  The  business  of  M.  Necker  therefore  stands 
thus  :  If  any  mischiefs  happen  they  will  be  charged  to 
him.  If  he  gets  well  through  the  business  others  will 
claim  the  reputation  of  what  good  is  done  by  the  States- 
General.  He  loves  flattery — for  he  flatters  ;  he  is  there 
fore  easily  deceived.  He  believes  that  many  persons  sup 
port  him  out  of  esteem,  who  I  believe  only  use  him,  and 
will  throw  by  the  instrument  when  it  can  no  longer  serve 
their  purpose.  Necker  is  in  blast  till  May,  but  will  prob- 


ably  blow  out  unless  further  means  can  be  devised.  The 
Caisse  d'Escompte  is  full  of  'effets  royaux '  (royal  bills). 
Consequently  both  the  means  and  the  inclination  to  afford 
succor  are  wanting." 

Not  yet  entirely  used  to  the  manners  and  customs  of 
Paris,  "I  find,"  Morris  says,  "that  I  have  been  guilty 
of  a  betise  in  answering  a  note  of  Madame  de  Corney  by 
one  addressed  to  monsieur.  Although  it  was  signed  De 
Corney,  I  ought  to  have  understood  better  '  the  marks  of 
the  crow-quill.'  Dine  [March  3oth]  with  Marshal  de  Cas 
tries.*  Hint  an  idea  to  him  respecting  the  debt  and  ex 
press  a  wish  to  converse  with  him  on  the  subject.  He 
appoints  to-morrow.  Call  on  Madame  de  Chastellux. 
After  some  time  Madame  de  Segur  comes  in.  Her  visit 
is  short,  being  engaged  for  the  evening.  After  she  has 
left  us  for  a  while  the  Duchesse  d'Orleans  enters.  A 
look  from  her  Royal  Highness  opens  the  idea  that  M. 
Morris  est  tm  peu  amour eux  de  Madame  la  Marquise,  but 
Madame  la  Duchesse  is  mistaken.  However,  this  mis 
take  can  do  no  harm  to  anybody.  The  Vicomte  de  Segur 
comes  in  and  a  look  which  he  takes  great  pains  to  conceal 
tells  me  that  he  believes  I  am  inclined  to  take  his  advice 
of  the  other  day,  viz.,  to  have  an  affair  with  the  widow, 
and  it  tells  me  also  that  he  means  to  console  her  for  the 
loss  of  her  husband.  From  thence  I  go  to  Madame  de 
Flahaut's,  an  elegant  woman,  and  a  snug  party.  She  is 
by  no  means  deficient  in  understanding,  and  has,  I  think, 
good  dispositions.  Nous  verrons" 

In  a  long  conversation  on  April  ist,  which  was  solicited 
vby  the  Marechal  de  Castries,  Morris  stated  his  ideas 

"The  Marechal  de  Castries,  an  able  general  of  France,  was  Governor-Gen 
eral  of  Flanders  at  one  time  and  afterward  Minister  of  Marine.  His  hotel  was 
among  the  first  destroyed  in  Paris  by  the  Revolutionists  in  1789.  He  emi 
grated  and  found  an  asylum  with  the  Duke  of  Brunswick. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  47 

with  regard  to  the  value  of  the  debt  from  America  to 
France,  and  proposed  to  purchase  it  with  tobacco,  flour, 
rice,  and  salt  provisions— part  payment  to  be  made  with 
money,  and  part  with  the  debt.  But  the  Marshal  ob 
jected  to  the  salt  provisions  because  they  must  encourage 
this  commerce  with  Ireland,  the  Irish  buying  large 
quantities  of  Bordeaux  wine.  "  He  thinks,"  Morris  says, 
"the  tobacco  may  do,  objects  to  the  flour,  and  says  noth 
ing  about  the  rice,  and  thinks,  on  the  whole,  that  the  pay 
ment  of  the  debt  is  of  trifling  importance  in  comparison 
with  the  greater  object  of  French  commerce.  M.  Necker 
will,  on  the  contrary,  I  presume,  be  of  opinion  that  the 
payment  of  the  debt  is  of  the  utmost  importance."  Mor 
ris,  however,  was  to  submit  his  ideas  on  paper  that  the 
marshal  might  further  consider  them. 

M.  de  Lafayette  had,  in  spite  of  Morris's  fears  to  the 
contrary,  just  secured  his  election  for  his  province  in 
Auvergne,  and  on  the  second  of  April  Morris  called  on 
Madame  de  Lafayette  to  congratulate  her  on  the  result, 
and  talk  a  little  politics.  From  there  to  Madame  de 
Chastellux's,  where  Madame  Rully,  "  another  of  the  Du- 
chesse  d'Orleans's  women  of  honor,  comes  in,  and  with 
very  fine  eyes  which  she  knows  very  well  how  to  make  use 
of.  Has  no  antipathy  to  the  gentler  passion.  Nousverrons. 

Madame ,  sister  to  the  late  M.   de  Chastellux,  joins 

us,  and  after  some  time  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  She 
complains  of  a  headache,  but  is,  I  think,  rather  out  of 
temper  than  in  ill-health.  M.  Morris  seems  to  me  not  to 
be  such  agreeable  company  as  before.  Take  leave  and 
go  to  supper  with  Madame  de  Corney.  After  a  little 
while  Madame  de  Flahaut  enters.  Presently,  M.  de 
Corney.*  He  has  in  vain  contested  for  the  rights  of  the 
Prtuotd  of  Paris.  Reads  us  his  speech.  M.  Necker  is 

*  M.  de  Corney,  procureur  de  la  ville. 


blamed,  and  the  company  do  not  appear  inclined  to  mercy 
on  his  subject.  I  had  learnt  at  Madame  de  Chastellux's 
that  the  King  has  received  an  express  that  M.  de  Calonne 
is  at  Douay,  and  will  probably  be  elected  a  member  of  the 
States-General.  This  intelligence  is  not  disagreeable  to 
the  company  here.  M.  de  Corney  tells  me  he  did  every 
thing  in  his  power  for  Nesbitt,  but  the  bureau  of  M.  De- 
Ville  Delville  are  violently  prejudiced  against  him.  This 
Nesbitt  ought  to  have  known,  for  in  his  affair  he  met  a 
beautiful  woman,  the  sister  or  cousin  of  his  creditor,  and 
in  the  second  affair  M.  le  Secretaire  treated  him  with  the 
utmost  politeness  and  showed  no  doubt  of  the  success  of 
his  application,  etc.,  whereas  at  Versailles  I  found  very 
great  obstacles.  Thus  a  little  negligence  has  involved 
him  in  a  manner  which  I  shall  find  very  difficult  to  ex 
tricate  him  from.  At  going  away  Madame  de  Corney  tells 
me,  '  Et  bien,  je  vous  ai  fait  souper  avec  Madame  de 
Flahaut,  ne  suis-je  pas  une  bonne  femme?'  *  Oui,  Ma 
dame.'  The  rest  of  my  compliment  is  conveyed  by  press 
ing  her  hand  and  a  look  of  reconnaissance." 

"  I  go  [April  3d]  to  keep  an  engagement  with  Madame 
de  Flahaut,  to  see  the  statues,  paintings  etc.,  of  the 
Louvre.  She  is  in  bed  and  her  brother-in-law  is  sit 
ting  witli  her.  So  it  appears  she  has,  as  she  says,  for 
gotten  her  engagement  to  me.  M.  de  Flahaut  comes  in. 
She  sends  us  forward,  and  is  to  follow.  This  is  done. 
We  walk  over  the  court  of  the  Louvre,  through  the  mud, 
view  the  statues — the  paintings  we  cannot  see,  that  pleas 
ure  is  for  another  opportunity.  Return  to  her  quarters. 
Monsieur,  presuming  that  I  was  about  to  follow  her  up 
stairs  merely  out  of  politeness,  apologizes  for  me.  In 
consequence  I  take  my  leave,  and  thus  a  scene,  which 
my  imagination  had  painted  very  well,  turns  out  good  for 
nothing.  The  weather  contributes  to  render  it  disagree- 


1789.]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  49 

able — wind,  rain,  and,  of  course  mud  without,  and  damp 
ness  within.  But  this  is  human  life.  Monsieur,  as  I  go 
away,  expresses  a  hope  to  see  me  again  soon,  and  requests 
to  be  commanded  if  he  can  be  useful  in  anything.  This 
politesse  is  always  agreeable,  though  a  man  must  be  a  fool 
to  believe  in  it. 

''This  is  a  day  of  accidents.  In  going  from  hence  I  slip 
as  I  step  into  the  carriage,  and  bruise  my  shin  very  much. 
Thus  everything  goes  wrong.  Visit  the  Comtesse  Durfort. 
She  has  company  and  is  but  just  risen.  Pressed  to  dine, 
but  decline  it.  She  is  going  to  sup  with  the  Baron  de 
Besenval,  and  I  promise  to  be  there  if  I  can.  She  says 
if  I  do  not  go,  it  is  because  I  will  not.  *  On  peut  tout 
ce  qu'on  veut.'  Stammer  out  a  bald  compliment  in  re 
ply.  I  am  certainly  good  for  nothing,  and  the  only  tol 
erable  thing  I  can  do  is  to  go  home.  This  is  done,  and, 
being  out  of  humor  with  myself,  I  find  the  dinner  very 
bad.  Threaten  to  deal  with  another  waiter — extremely 
ridiculous.  The  waiter,  who  behaves  with  great  humility, 
must,  I  think,  despise  me  for  talking  angrily  before  I  can 
talk  French.  At  five  o'clock  I  visit  Madame  de  Segur. 
Madame  de  Chastellux  and  Madame  de  Puisignieu  are 
there.  In  conversing  about  public  men  and  measures  I 
am  so  weak  and  absurd  as  to  express  many  opinions  which 
I  ought  to  conceal,  and  some  of  which  I  may  perhaps  find 
reason  to  alter.  Two  ladies  come  in,  and  as  I  am  going 
away  Madame  de  Segur,  to  whom  I  had  mentioned  my 
intention  of  visiting  Mr.  Jefferson,  has  the  politeness  to 
say,  '  Nous  vous  reverrons,  M.  Morris  ? '  and  I  have 
the  stupidity  to  answer  in  the  affirmative.  Call  on  Mr. 
Jefferson,  and  sit  an  hour  with  him,  which  is  at  least  fifty 
minutes  too  long,  for  his  daughter  had  left  the  room  on  my 
approach,  and  waits  only  my  departure,  at  least  I  think  so. 
Returning  in  consistency  with  my  promise,  I  call  on  Ma- 


dame  de  Segur,  and  am  shown  into  the  room  where  she 
is  with  her  father-in-law.  He  lies  on  a  couch,  or  rather 
sofa — the  gout  in  his  right  hand,  which  is  his  only  hand. 
Madame  de  Chastellux  and  another  lady  are  there.  I 
think  I  was  wrong  to  come  here,  and  for  that  reason  find 
it  difficult  to  get  away — vastly  awkward.  At  length  make 
a  shift  to  take  leave,  and,  to  avoid  all  further  folly  for  this 
day,  determine  to  go  home." 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  51 


Dearth  of  wheat  at  Lyons.  Morris  offers  Necker  a  cargo.  Graciousness  of 
the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Ladies  vexed  by  long  arguments  in  the 
salons.  Ten  thousand  troops  ordered, out.  Swiss  guards  within  the 
barriers.  Necker's  fall  desired.  Tete-a-tete  dish  of  tea  with  Madame 
de  S6gur.  King  and  princes  oppose  liberty.  Political  talk  with  the 
Bishop  of  Autun.  Makes  a  plan  of  finance  for  France.  Advises  the 
massing  of  the  Swiss  guards  round  the  king's  person.  Election  excite 
ments.  A  water-party  on  the  Seine.  An  eventful  day  at  Versailles. 
Meeting  of  the  States-General.  Magnificent  spectacle.  Mirabeau 
hissed.  The  Duke  of  Orleans  applauded.  Visit  to  Marly.  Madame 
du  Barry.  Madame  de  Se'gur  at  her  toilet.  Petit-Trianon  Gardens. 
Madame  de  Suze's  lapdog. 

IN  the  month  of  April  the  dearth  of  wheat  at  Lyons 
gave  the  ministers  serious  apprehension,  and  Morris 
proposed  to  the  banker  Le  Coulteux  to  offer  a  cargo  of 
grain  which  was  then  arriving.  The  plan  was  approved 
of  and  an  express  sent  to  Versailles  to  consult  with  M. 
Necker.  "  This  evening  [April  6th]  at  Madame  de 
Puisignieu's,"  says  the  diary,  "  I  am  told  that  there  is 
wheat  enough  in  the  kingdom,  but  that  it  is  bought  up  by 
forestallers  and  that  M.  Necker  is  suspected  of  having 
engaged  the  funds  and  credit  of  government  in  the  op 
eration,  by  which  he  will  get  for  the  crown  one  hundred 
and  fifty  millions.  I  cannot  help  expressing  my  detesta 
tion  of  this  vile  slander,  and  M.  de  Puisignieu  seems 
ashamed  of  hinting  it.  How  wretched  is  the  situation  of 
that  man  who  is  raised  high  above  others.  His  services, 
the  fruit  of  anxious  solicitude,  are  attributed  to  chance,  or 
pared  down  to  the  size  of  ordinary  occurrences.  But  every 


public  misfortune,  even  the  interference  of  the  seasons 
and  the  operations  of  human  cupidity,  are  charged  to  the 
ignorance  or  injustice  of  administration.  M.  Le  Coulteux 
wishes  that  I  should  go  with  him  to  one  of  the  adminis 
tration  about  the  cargo  of  the  Russel,  as  he  is  fearful 
that  an  offer  from  him  would  be  considered  merely  in  the 
light  of  a  private  speculation.  In  the  afternoon  go  to 
M.  Le  Coulteux's  and  take  him  up  by  appointment. 
We  visit  M.  Montlieraiu,  and  Monsieur  C.  opens  the 
business.  I  find  he  was  right  in  his  idea  of  the  reception 
it  would  meet  with,  but  I  cut  the  matter  short  by  putting 
it  at  once  on  its  true  ground  without  any  of  those  com 
pliments  that  had  already  been  brought  forward  and  which 
might  of  course  now  be  dispensed  with.  This  induces 
M.  Montlieraiu  to  think  more  seriously  of  the  mat 
ter.  The  brother  of  the  first  magistrate  of  Lyons  is  sent 
for,  who  wishes  it  very  much.  After  considering  the  sev 
eral  difficulties  the  thing  appears  of  such  consequence  that 
a  letter  is  to  be  written  to-morrow,  to  M.  Necker.  I 
desire  pointedly  that,  if  my  name  is  used,  M.  Necker  may 
know  that  this  offer  is  made  from  a  view  to  relieve  the  ad 
ministration,  but  above  all  to  succor  the  distressed  peo 
ple  and  without  the  slightest  attention  to  pecuniary  con 

The  ''procession  to  Longchamp "  took  place  on  the 
8th  of  April,  and  Morris  described  it  as  "  exhibiting  a 
strange  mixture  of  wretched  fiacres  and  superb  equipages 
with  all  the  intermediate  degrees.  While  visiting  Madame 
de  Chastellux  this  evening,"  he  continues,  "  a  message  is 
brought  from  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  to  the  effect  that 
she  cannot  pay  her  intended  visit.  Madame  de  Chastellux 
told  me  that  the  Duchess  had  observed  on  not  seeing  me 
there  for  some  time,  and  said  she  would  visit  me  chez 
Madame  la  Marquise  this  evening.  This  is  a  badinage 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  53 

which  I  begin  to  comprehend,  and  there  is  nothing  in  it  to 
flatter  my  vanity.  Tant  mieux.  I  assure  the  marchioness 
of  my  veneration  and  affection,  etc.,  for  her  Royal  High- 
ness's  virtues,  in  which  there  is  much  more  sincerity  than 
a  person  of  her  rank  has  a  right  to  expect.  She  tells  me 
that  Madame  de  Rully  is  a  slut.  I  assure  her  that  this  in 
formation  gives  me  great  concern,  that  I  was  becoming 
violently  in  love  with  her,  and  am  totally  palled  by  the 
communication.  Tout  cela  s'entend." 

The  early  spring  attracted  Morris  toward  the  coun 
try,  and  he  mentions  visiting  the  country-seat  of  M. 
le  Normand,  where,  with  his  true  farmer's  instinct,  he 
carefully  examined  the  farm,  and  expressed  himself  very 
much  surprised  to  learn  "  that  the  sheep  are  housed  in 
winter.  I  attribute  it  with  other  practices  to  want  of 
knowledge  in  husbandry,"  he  says,  "  for,  in  effect,  this  is  a 
science  very  little  understood  in  France.  They  will  ac 
quire  it  by  means  of  that  Anglomania  which  now  rages 
among  them.  If  at  the  same  time  they  should  improve 
both  their  agriculture  and  constitution,  it  will  be  difficult 
to  calculate  the  power  of  this  nation.  But  the  progress 
of  this  nation  seems  to  be  much  greater  in  the  fine  arts 
than  in  the  useful  arts.  This  perhaps  depends  on  a  gov 
ernment  oppressive  to  industry  but  favorable  to  genius. 
At  Vieflis  [the  chateau  of  M.  le  Norrage]  we  have  a 
thousand  proofs  that  the  master  does  not  understand  cal 
culation  :  a  very  large  house  not  finished,  a  garden  or 
park  which,  if  ever  completed,  will  at  least  have  been  ex 
pensive,  and  will  perhaps  be  magnificent.  A  large  com 
pany  and  a  small  dinner.  An  abbe  declaims  violently 
against  moderation  in  politics.  He  will,  he  says,  carry 
the  post  by  assault.  This  will  be  somewhat  difficult,  as 
the  King  has  already  surrendered  everything  at  discretion. 
I  desire  the  Comte  de  Pellue  to  ask  him  what  he  wants. 


He  says  a  constitution.  But  what  constitution  ?  In  ex 
plaining  himself,  it  appears  that  he  desires  less  than  is 
already  granted,  and  a  part  of  the  company  differ  with 
him  because  he  does  not  desire  enough.  And  so  much 
for  carrying  everything  by  assault.  A  tedious  argument 
is  commenced,  to  which  I  pay  no  attention,  but  find  that 
the  ladies  are  vexed  at  it,  because  the  orators  are  so  vehe 
ment  that  their  gentle  voices  cannot  be  heard.  They  will 
have  more  of  this,  if  the  States-General  should  really  fix  a 
constitution.  Such  an  event  would  be  particularly  dis 
tressing  to  the  women  of  this  country,  for  they  would  be 
thereby  deprived  of  their  share  in  the  government,  and 
hitherto  they  have  exercised  an  authority  almost  un 
limited,  with  no  small  pleasure  to  themselves,  though 
not  perhaps  with  the  greatest  advantage  to  the  commu 

"  To-day  [April  i5th]  I  visit  M.  Millet.  He  is  at  play  with 
a  number  of  people  who  look  like  gamblers.  Madame  is 
abroad  and  probably  engaged  at  a  different  game.  Call 
on  Madame  de  Durfort.  She  lets  me  know  that  she  is  go 
ing  to  pay  a  visit  to  a  sick  person,  and  she  takes  an  officer 
of  dragoons  to  support  her  under  the  affliction.  Take  tea 
with  Madame  de  Chastellux.  She  gives  me  many  curious 
anecdotes  of  this  country.  Two  ladies  come  in  and  talk 
politics.  One  of  them  dislikes  M.  Necker  so  much  that  she 
seemed  vexed  with  herself  for  being  pleased  with  a  little 
jeu  d'esprit  which  he  composed  several  years  ago  and 
which  Madame  de  Chastellux  reads  to  us." 

"In  a  very  long  conversation  with  M.  de  Lafayette  to 
day  [April  i  yth]  he  gives  me  the  history  of  his  campaign  in 
Auvergne.  I  find  that  his  mind  is  getting  right  as  to  the 
business  he  has  in  hand.  We  consider  of  a  revolt  in  Paris, 
and  agree  that  it  might  occasion  much  mischief  but  would 
not  produce  any  good,  that  in  consequence  it  will  be 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  55 

best  to  enter  a  protestation  against  the  manner  of  canvass 
ing  the  city,  etc.,  but  to  go  on  with  the  business  and  get 
the  members  elected.  There  is  to  be  a  meeting  of  the 
noblesse  this  afternoon  and  M.  Clermont  *  will  talk  to. 
this  effect.  He  is,  if  possible,  to  be  made  one  of  the  rep 
resentatives  and  is  therefore  to  be  brought  forward  as  a 
speaker  immediately.  Lafayette  says  he  has  genius  and 
family  though  of  small  fortune.  Go  to  dine  with  M.  de  la 
Breteche  after  dinner.  M.  de  Durfort,  comes  in.  He  has 
been  at  the  meeting.  M.  de  Clermont's  speech  was  very 
much  admired  and  he  carried  his  point  by  a  large  ma 
jority,  contrary,  says  M.  de  Durfort  to  the  wish  of  M. 
Necker' s  friends.  I  am  very  curious,  and  among  other 
things  ask  if  M.  de  Lafayette  was  there.  Yes,  and  said  a 
few  words  which  were  very  well.  As  M.  de  Durfort  is  not 
the  friend  of  either  M.  de  Lafayette  or  M.  Necker,  I  fancy 
things  have  gone  very  right.  Ten  thousand  men  are  or 
dered  into  the  neighborhood  of  Paris,  and  the  French  and 
Swiss  guards  are  within  the  barriers,  which  makes  the 
Mare'chaussee,  etc.,  six  thousand  more,  so  that  if  we  have 
an  insurrection  it  will  be  warm  work.  The  revolution  that 
is  carrying  on  in  the  country  is  a  strange  one.  A  few  peo 
ple  who  have  set  it  going  look  with  astonishment  at  their 
own  work.  The  ministers  contribute  to  the  destruction  of 
ministerial  authority,  without  knowing  either  what  they 
are  doing  or  what  to  do.  M.  Necker,  who  thinks  he  di 
rects  everything,  is  perhaps  himself  as  much  an  instru 
ment  as  any  of  those  which  he  makes  use  of.  His  fall  is 
I  think  desired,  but  it  will  not  happen  so  soon  as  his  ene 
mies  expect.  It  will  depend  much  on  the  chapter  of  acci 
dents  who  will  govern  the  States-General,  or  whether  they 
will  be  at  all  governable.  Gods  !  what  a  theatre  this  is 

*  Clermont  de  Tonnerre  was  elected  by  the  noblesse  to  the  States-General 
in  1789.     Perished  in  the  massacre  of  August  10,  1792. 


for  a  first-rate  character.  Lafayette  has  given  me  this 
morning  the  anticipation  of  a  whimsical  part  of  the  drama. 
The  Duke  de  Coigny,  one  of  the  Queen's  lovers,  is  directed 
by  his  constituents  to  move  that  the  Queen  shall  not,  in 
case  of  accidents,  be  Regent,  and  he  (Lafayette),  who  is 
hated  by  both  King  and  Queen,  intends  to  oppose  that  mo 
tion.  I  give  him  one  or  two  reasons  which  strike  me  in 
support  of  his  opinion,  but  he  inclines  to  place  it  on  a  dif 
ferent  ground.  His  opinions  accord  best  with  those  of  a 
republic.  Mine  are  drawn  only  from  human  nature  and 
ought  not  therefore  to  have  much  respect  in  this  age  of 
refinement.  It  would  indeed  be  ridiculous  for  those  to 
believe  in  man  who  affect  not  to  believe  in  God." 

"  This  afternoon  [April  28th]  over  a  tete-a-tete  dish  of  tea 
with  Madame  de  Segur  we  have  a  pleasant  talk.  The  tea 
is  very  good,  and  her  conversation  is  better  flavored  than 
her  tea,  which  comes  from  Russia.  After  this  an  hour 
spent  with  Madame  de  Chastellux  at  the  Palais  Royal, 
where  I  found  her  with  her  son  lying  in  her  lap.  A 
mother  in  this  situation  is  always  interesting,  and  her  late 
loss  renders  her  particularly  so.  In  the  course  of  conver 
sation,  asking  after  the  health  of  her  princess,  she  repeats 
a  message  formerly  delivered.  On  this  occasion  I  observe 
that  I  should  be  sorry  to  show  a  want  of  respectful  atten 
tion  or  be  guilty  of  an  indiscretion,  and  therefore  wish  to 
know  what  would  be  proper  conduct  should  I  meet  Her 
Highness  anywhere  else — that  my  present  opinion  is  that 
it  would  be  proper  not  to  know  her.  She  says  I  may  rely 
on  it  that  in  such  case  she  would  recognize  me.  I  tell  her 
farther  that,  although  in  my  interior  I  have  a  great  indif 
ference  for  the  advantages  of  birth,  and  only  respect  in 
her  Royal  Highness  the  virtues  she  possesses,  yet  I  feel 
myself  bound  to  comply  exteriorly  with  the  feelings  and 
prejudices  of  those  among  whom  I  find  myself.  Between 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  57 

nine  and  ten  it  is  concluded  that  the  Duchess  will  not 
make  her  evening  visit,  and  I  take  my  leave,  returning  the 
message  I  had  received  :  '  I  have  visited  Madame  la  Du- 
chesse  chez  Madame  de  Chastellux,  and  I  am  sorry  not  to 
have  met  her  there.'  " 

Morris  seemed  to  be  impressed  with  his  lack  of  the 
proper  spirit  of  a  traveller  and  sightseer,  for  in  a  letter 
[April  i8th]  to  a  friend  at  Philadelphia  he  confessed  his 
shortcomings  in  that  regard. 

"  I  am  pretty  well  convinced,"  he  wrote,  "  that  I  am  not 
fit  for  a  traveller,  and  yet  I  thought  otherwise  when  I  left 
America.  But  what  will  you  say  to  a  man  who  has  been 
above  two  months  in  Paris  without  ascending  to  the  top 
of  Notre  Dame,  who  has  been  but  three  times  to  Ver 
sailles,  and  on  neither  of  those  times  has  seen  the  King  or 
Queen,  or  had  the  wish  to  see  them,  and  who,  if  he  should 
continue  here  twenty  years,  would  continue  in  ignorance 
of  the  length  of  the  Louvre,  the  breadth  of  the  Pont 
Neuf,  etc.  ?  A  man  in  Paris  lives  in  a  sort  of  whirlwind 
which  turns  him  round  so  fast  that  he  can  see  nothing,  and 
as  all  men  and  things  are  in  the  same  vertiginous  situation 
you  can  neither  fix  yourself  nor  your  object  for  regular 
examination.  Hence  the  people  of  this  metropolis  are 
under  the  necessity  of  pronouncing  their  definitive  judg 
ment  from  the  first  glance  ;  and  being  thus  habituated  to 
shoot  flying,  they  have  what  the  sportsmen  call  a  quick 
sight.  They  know  a  wit  by  his  snuff-box,  a  man  of  taste  by 
his  bow,  and  a  statesman  by  the  cut  of  his  coat.  It  is  true 
that  like  other  sportsmen  they  sometimes  miss,  but  like 
other  sportsmen  they  have  a  thousand  excuses  besides 
the  want  of  skill.  The  fault,  you  know,  may  be  in  the 
dog  or  the  bird  or  the  powder  or  the  flint,  or  even  the 
gun,  without  mentioning  the  gunner. 

"We  are  at  present  in  a  fine   situation  for  what  the 


bucks  and  bloods  would  term  a  frolic  and  high  fun. 
The  ministers  have  disgusted  this  city  by  the  manner 
of  convoking  them  to  elect  their  representatives  for  the 
States-General,  and  at  the  same  time  bread  is  getting 
dearer.  So  that  when  the  people  assemble  on  Monday, 
Tuesday,  and  Wednesday  next,  what  with  hunger  and  dis 
content  the  least  spark  would  set  everything  in  a  flame. 
The  state  physicians  have,  by  way  of  antidote,  brought 
between  fifteen  and  twenty  thousand  regular  troops 
within  and  about  the  city  ;  so  that  at  any  rate  the  bans 
bourgeois  may  not  have  all  the  fun  to  themselves.  This 
measure  will  rather  tend  to  produce  than  to  prevent  a 
riot,  for  some  of  the  young  nobility  have  brought  them 
selves  to  an  active  faith  in  the  natural  equality  of  man 
kind,  and  spurn  at  everything  which  looks  like  re 

"This  evening  [April  2oth]  while  I  am  taking  tea  in 
Madame  de  Flahaut's  salon,  the  Marquis  de  Boursac 
comes  in  fresh  from  the  elections.  He  has  been  very  busy 
all  day  in  traversing  the  views  of  the  ministry  in  the  elec 
tion  of  the  nobles,  and  thinks  with  success.  There  is  to  be 
a  meeting  to-morrow  morning  at  the  Provost's  of  Paris, 
to  decide  finally  what  they  shall  do.  Madame  goes  to 
make  her  visit  of  condolence  to  Madame  de  Guibert, 
whose  husband,  a  Neckerist,  is  dismissed  from  his  place 
in  the  War  Office,  at  which,  by  the  bye,  she  is  delighted, 
though  Madame  de  Guibert  will  not  be  so  well  pleased, 
notwithstanding  that  she  is  of  the  party  opposed  to  her 
husband.  Promise  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  return,  and  go 
to  M.  Millet's  ;*  sit  a  little  while  with  him  and  his  mis 
tress,  and  then  call  on  Madame  de  Corney.  She  is  in 
high  spirits  at  the  opposition  like  to  take  place  among  the 
nobles.  She  gives  me  an  anecdote  from  the  Baron  de 

*  One  of  the  partners  in  the  firm  of  Le  Coulteux  de  Cantaleu. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  59 

Breteuil,*  who  had  it  from  the  mouth  of  M.  Ma- 
chault,  a  minister.  The  King  and  Princes  have  united 
together  to  oppose  the  progress  of  liberty,  the  rapidity  of 
which  has  at  length  given  them  serious  alarm.  The  King 
applied  to  M.  Machault  to  be  premier,  which  he  de 
clined  on  account  of  his  age.  Was  asked  his  opinion  of 
M.  Necker.  *  I  don't  like  his  conduct,  but  I  think  it 
would  be  dangerous  to  dismiss  him  at  present.'  Madame 
de  Corney  presses  me  to  stay  to  supper,  but  I  decline,  tell 
ing  her  I  am  engaged  to  her  friend  the  Comtesse  de  Fla- 
haut,  which  she  of  course  admits  to  be  a  sufficient  reason. 
Go  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  Meet  the  Bishop  d'Autun.f 
Talk  more  politics  than  I  ought. 

"  I  am  of  the  opinion  that  if  the  Court  should  attempt 
now  to  recede,  it  is  impossible  to  conjecture  the  event. 
The  chiefs  of  the  patriotic  party  have  gone  so  far  that 
they  cannot  retreat  with  safety.  If  there  be  any  real  vigor 
in  the  nation  the  prevailing  party  in  the  States-General 
may,  if  they  please,  overturn  the  monarchy  itself,  should 
the  King  commit  his  authority  to  a  contest  with  them. 

*  Baron  de  Breteuil,  said  by  Madame  Campan  to  have  been  the  cause  of 
the  scandal  and  result  of  the  affair  of  the  diamond  necklace,  because  of  his 
hatred  for  the  Cardinal  de  Rohan.  The  Abbe  Vermond  threw  the  entire 
blame  on  him.  In  August,  1789,  he  was  nominated  to  fill  M.  Necker's  place 
in  the  Finances. 

t  Charles  Maurice  de  Talleyrand-Perigord,  Prince  of  Benevento,  a  cele 
brated  French  diplomatist  and  wit,  born  at  Paris,  February  13,  1754.  An 
accident  made  him  lame  for  life  ;  and,  in  consequence,  he  was  required  to  re 
sign  his  birthright  and  enter  the  church,  which  profession  was  very  distaste 
ful  to  him.  In  1788  he  became  Bishop  of  Autun,  and  in  1789  member  of  the 
States-General,  and,  enlisting  in  the  service  of  liberty  and  equality,  he  joined 
the  Third  Estate.  He  was  proscribed  by  Robespierre,  and  took  refuge  in 
the  United  States.  In  1799  he  co-operated  with  Bonaparte  in  the  revolution 
of  the  i8th  Brumaire.  He  was  distinguished  for  his  sarcastic  wit  and  exquisite 
tact,  his  coolness  and  sobriety,  and  "  masterly  inactivity."  He  resigned  from 
the  cabinet  of  Louis  XVIII.  because  he  would  not  sign  the  humiliating  treaty 
which  was  concluded  with  the  Allied  Powers.  He  died  at  Paris  in  May,  1838, 
leaving  memoirs  to  be  published  thirty  years  after  his  death. 


The  Court  is  extremely  feeble,  and  the  manners  are  so 
extremely  corrupt  that  they  cannot  succeed  if  there  be 
any  consistent  opposition.  Unless  the  whole  nation  be 
equally  depraved,  the  probability,  I  think,  is  that  an  at 
tempt  to  retreat  at  this  late  period  of  the  business  will 
bring  the  Court  into  absolute  contempt." 

"  After  the  Com£die  Francaise  to-night  [April  2ist]  I  go 
to  Madame  de  Chastellux's,  and  she  gives  me  the  news 
from  Versailles.  M.  de  Vauguyon*  is  not  to  return  to 
Spain.  M.  de  la  Luzerne  is  to  go  there.  Hope  that 
M.  de  Segur  will  go  to  London.  The  nobles  of  Paris 
have  agreed  to  elect,  protesting  against  the  Regle- 
ment.  This  is  the  best  course  they  could  take.  Madame 
de  Chastellux  tells  me  that  the  Duchesse  d'Orl£ans  had 
left,  a  little  before  my  arrival,  a  message  for  me.  She 
wishes  me  to  see  her  son,  M.  de  Beaujolais." 

Morris  had  been  for  some  time  engaged  in  forming  a 
plan  of  finance  for  France.  It  had  been  translated  into 
French,  and  presented  to  M.  de  Malesherbes.  The  morn 
ing  of  Wednesday,  the  22d,  Morris  spent  with  Jeffer 
son,  discussing  the  question  of  the  finances  generally,  and 
particularly  the  plan  which  he  had  made.  "  Mr.  Jeffer 
son,"  he  says  (April  22d),  "likes  much  my  plan  of  finance. 
We  wait  till  after  four  for  Lafayette,  who  then  comes  in 
deshabille,  having  been  engaged  in  politics  till  that  mo 
ment.  The  business  we  believe  is  going  well.  I  advise 
that  the  Swiss  guards  should  be  removed  from  about  the 
King's  person  by  the  States-General,  and  a  compliment  be 
at  the  same  time  made  to  the  national  troops.  Mr.  Jeffer 
son  does  not  seem  to  think  this  important,  but  I  urge  it  to 
the  conviction  of  Lafayette.  He  wishes  to  have  our  opin 
ion  whether  he  should  take  a  great  part  in  the  debates  of 

*  The  Due  de  Vauguyon  had  been  the  governor  of  the  sons  of  the  Dauphin, 
who  became,  respectively,  Louis  XVI.,  Louis  XVIII.,  and  Charles  X. 

1798. J  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  6 1 

the  States-General.  We  agree  that  he  should  only  speak 
on  important  occasions.  Afterwards  Jefferson  and  I  .go 
to  the  Palais  Royal  to  get  our  profiles  taken."  [The 
semi-silhouette  substitute  for  the  photography  of  to- 

'-  To-night  [April  24th]  at  supper  at  the  Baron  deBesen- 
val's,  we  are  told  of  an  express  announcing  the  Emperor's 
death,  and  then  again  that  he  is  not  dead.  It  appears, 
however,  that  he  is  not  long  for  this  world.  We  hear  a 
great  deal  also  about  the  disturbances  for  want  of  bread. 
These  give  pleasure  to  the  company  here,  who  are  all  ad 
verse  to  the  present  administration.  We  hear  also  that 
there  is  to  be  a  new  administration  ;  that  Monsieur  is  to 
be  the  chief,  and  all  the  present  ministers  are  to  go  out 
except  Necker.  This  arrangement  is  less  agreeable  to  the 
company  than  it  would  have  been  to  turn  out  Necker  and 
keep  the  rest.  For  my  own  part,  I  do  not  believe  in  a 
change  just  now.  Puisignieu  tells  me  that  the  States-Gen 
eral  will  quarrel  immediately  about  the  question  as  to  the 
votes,  whether  they  shall  be  given  par  ordre  or  par  tete. 
He  asserts  this  with  so  much  warmth  as  to  show  that  he 
wishes  it.  He  says,  further,  that  the  nation  is  incapable  of 
liberty  ;  that  they  can  bear  nothing  long  and  will  not  even 
stay  at  their  regiments  above  three  months.  Thus  he  takes 
the  noblesse  for  the  nation,  and  judges  the  noblesse  from 
those  members  who,  from  idleness  and  dissipation,  are  of 
the  least  consequence  in  revolutions  except,  indeed,  so  far 
as  their  numbers  are  concerned.  It  seems  the  general  posi 
tion  of  those  who  wish  the  King  to  be  everything  that  he 
must  inevitably  be  so  in  a  few  years,  let  the  nation  do 
what  it  will  in  the  present  moment.  In  fact,  the  revolu 
tionists  have  but  flimsy  materials  to  work  with,  and  unless 
some  greater  energy  of  character  should  result  from  their 
present  doings,  the  friends  of  despotism  must  succeed." 


"  All  this  morning  [April  25th]  I  am  employed  in  writ 
ing,  and  in  the  afternoon  go  to  dine  with  M.  Millet  and 
his  mistress,  the  Marquis  de  Brehan,  an  old  lady  and 
her  daughter,  beautiful  and  just  coming  forward,  one 
married  woman,  a  young  and  extremely  handsome  one, 
the  husband  of  the  former,  and  the  friend  of  the  latter, 
with  a  captain  in  the  navy,  who  like  myself  is  a  bachelor, 
and  a  young  man  I  know  not  who.  The  dinner  (a  la  matelote] 
and  the  guests  are  of  M.  Millet's  bespeaking.  After  des 
sert  we  are  entertained  by  an  old  woman  who  plays  on 
the  vielle  (hurdy  gurdy)  and  accompanies  her  instrument 
with  loose  songs,  to  the  great  delight  of  the  gentlemen, 
the  mother,  and  the  married  lady,  whose  husband  has  an 
exhausted,  disconsolate  air.  The  child  listens  with  infinite 
attention.  The  two  young  ladies  are  not  well  pleased. 
M.  Millet  proposes  another  such  party  for  next  week, 
which  we  agree  to.  He  is  to  order  the  dinner  and  consult 
us.  I  tell  him  it  shall  be  just  what  he  pleases,  but  that  we 
will,  if  he  pleases,  excuse  the  music.  From  thence  we  go 
to  the  Hotel  Royal  des  Invalides,  a  most  magnificent 
piece  of  architecture.  The  chapel  and  the  dome  are  sub 
lime.  In  the  kitchen  we  are  made  to  observe,  among 
other  things,  a  little  kettle  with  2,500  pounds  of  beef  for  to 
morrow's  soup  ;  another,  with  a  smaller  quantity,  for  mes 
sieurs  les  offiders.  A  spectacle  which  excited  the  great 
est  effect  in  my  mind  was  a  number  of  mutilated  veter 
ans  on  their  knees  in  the  chapel.  The  most  sincere  devo 
tion.  Poor  wretches !  they  have  no  hope  on  this  side  of 
the  grave.  The  women  went  on  their  knees  when  we 
came  near  the  sacristy.  At  M.  Millet's  suggestion,  I 
made  a  prayer  for  the  two  handsomest,  which  they  liked 
quite  as  well  as  any  in  the  Missal.  M.  Millet  tells  me 
that  he  heard  a  number  of  the  "invalides  "  expressing  their 
pity  that  so  fine  a  man  should  have  lost  his  lesr.  He  did 


not  perceive  me  give  one  of  them  a  crown,  or  he  would 
have  known  how  to  appreciate  the  compliment  and  the 

On  Sunday  (April  26th)  Morris  was  entertaining  a 
friend,  whereupon,  he  says,  "I  receive  to  my  great  surprise 
a  billet  from  a  lady  containing  a  declaration  of  love,  but 
anonymous.  I  write  an  ambiguous  answer  to  the  fair  in 
cognita  and  send  my  servant  Martin  to  dog  the  messen 
ger,  a  little  boy,  who  delivers  it  to  a  waiting-woman.  She 
goes  to  the  house  of  M.  Millet.  It  is  therefore  from  his 
mistress,  who  certainly  is  worth  attention.  In  the  even 
ing  I  call  on  Madame  Millet,  but  have  not  an  opportunity 
to  say  a  word  to  her  en  particulier.  Call  on  Madame  de 
Chastellux,  and  find  that  as  usual  the  Duchess  has  just  left 
her,  and  a  little  message  for  me.  There  is  something 
whimsical  in  this,  but  I  express  a  regret  on  the  subject. 
This  evening  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's  they  are  in  the 
midst  of  politics,  of  which  I  am  tired.  After  supper  the 
Bishop  of  Autun  reads  us  the  protest  of  the  nobles  and 
clergy  of  Brittany,  and  during  the  lecture  I  very  uncivilly 
fall  asleep.  Madame  is  not  well,  and  besides  has  met  with 
something  in  the  course  of  the  day  which  preys  upon  her 
spirits.  I  enquire  what  it  is  and  she  declines  telling  me, 
which  I  am  glad  of." 

Paris  was  astir  with  the  excitement  of  the  elections 
during  this  month  of  April.  On  the  2ist  the  "Electoral 
Assemblies  "  had  begun.  The  streets  were  full  of  electors 
of  each  degree.  Besides,  the  town  swarmed  with  beggars. 
Twenty  thousand  vagabonds  infested  the  capital,  sur 
rounded  the  palace,  and  filled  the  Hotel  de  Ville.  The 
government,  being  forced  thereto,  kept  twelve  thousand  of 
them  digging  on  the  hills  of  Montmartre  and  payed  them  20 
sous  a  day.  They  were  starving.  Bread  was  very  scarce. 
They  surrounded  the  bakers' shops  and  a  bitter  murmuring, 


gradually  growing  louder,  arose  from  them.  Irritated,  ex 
cited,  imaginative,  they  waited  for  some  excuse  for  action,, 
however  slight.  It  came  on  the  25th,  in  a  rumor  that  Re- 
veillon,  an  elector  and  manufacturer,  had  "  spoken  badly 
of  the  people  at  an  electoral  meeting."  What  he  actually 
said  no  one  knew  ;  that  he  was  a  just  man  all  knew  ;  what 
they  imagined  he  said  was  that  "a  man  and  his  wife  and  chil 
dren  could  live  on  fifteen  sous  a  day,"  and  he  was  a  traitor 
and  must  die.  All  day  Sunday  the  crowds,  idle  and  angry, 
had  time  to  talk  and  to  encourage  each  other  to  violence. 
On  Monday,  still  idle  and  drunk,  the  mob  began  to  move, 
armed  with  clubs.  Morris  mentions  going  out  to  see  the 
banker  Le  Coulteux.  "His  gate"  [April  2yth],  he  says, 
"  is  shut  and  all  the  shops  are  shut.  There  is,  it  seems,  a 
riot  in  Paris,  and  the  troops  are  at  work  somewhere,  which 
has  given  a  great  alarm  to  the  city.  I  believe  it  is  very 
trifling."  By  midnight  the  crowd  was  somewhat  dispersed, 
but  only  to  reassemble  with  renewed  energy  to  do  its  wild 
work  the  next  morning.  The  cause  of  the  "  Third  Estate  " 
was  what  they  had  come  to  defend,  and  not  even  when  they 
faced  the  cannon  and  saw  two  hundred  of  their  number 
killed  did  they  relinquish  their  firm  conviction  that  the 
cause  of  the  Third  Estate  was  righteous  and  would  pre 

Meantime  the  society  of  the  Palais  Royal  in  Madame  de 
Chastellux's  salon  drank  their  tea  quietly,  and  talked  poli 
tics.  "Madame  de  Chastellux  tells  me,"  writes  Morris, 
"she  expects  the  Duchess  to-night.  I  therefore  stay  to 
meet  her  Royal  Highness.  She  comes  in  pretty  late,  is 
vastly  civil,  refers  to  her  several  messages,  extremely 
sorry  not  to  have  met  me,  etc.,  to  all  of  which  I  answer  as 
well  as  I  can.  In  effect,  it  goes  beyond  my  idea,  though  I 
must  from  necessity  adhere  to  my  original  interpretation. 
She  talks  a  good  deal  of  politics  with  her  friends  about  the 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  65 

assemblies,  etc.,  and  I  congratulate  her  on  this  employ 
ment  for  her  mind,  which  has  contributed  already  to  her 
health.  She  says  her  visit  must  be  very  short  ;  she  is  go 
ing  to  see  her  children.  She  came  in  late,  and  she  should 
not  have  made  the  visit,  but  to  see  me.  This  is  clearly 
persiflage,  but  it  would  be  vastly  uncivil  in  me  should  I 
appear  to  think  so." 

In  a  letter  written  to  Mr.  Carmichael  on  the  27th,  men 
tion  is  made  of  a  visit  paid  to  M.  de  Montmorin,  who  re 
ceived  him  civilly,  but  indifferently.  He  says  :  "  Should 
the  intrigue  now  carrying  on  be  successful,  they  will  all 
be  turned  out,  and  then  I  will  cultivate  the  acquaint 
ance  of  M.  de  Montmorin,  for  the  Minister  of  Foreign 
Affairs  is  too  much  occupied.  I  can  say  nothing  to  you 
about  the  politics  of  this  country.  I  know  I  write  under 
the  inspection  of  those  whose  hands  this  letter  may  pass 
through  in  both  kingdoms.  Besides,  there  is  nothing  that 
can  be  depended  on  till  the  States-General  shall  have 
been  some  time  assembled.  The  Emperor  is,  I  suppose,  by 
this  time  in  the  regions  of  the  departed.  This  country  is 
not  in  a  condition  to  send  an  army  of  observation  to  the 
Rhine,  and  of  course  her  ministers  will  be  but  little  at 
tended  to.  The  part  which  Britain  and  Prussia  may  take 
is  uncertain."  4 

"  On  the  way  to  see  M.  Millet  [April  28th]  I  see  some 
troops  marching  with  two  small  field  pieces  towards  the 
Faubourg  St.  Antoine.  It  seems  there  has  been  a  riot 
there.  Hear  at  M.  Millet's  a  terrible  account  of  it, 
which  certainly  is  exaggerated.  Later  I  find  that  the  riot 
has  been  pretty  serious."  But  the  French  theatre,  and  an 
endeavor  to  discover  if  Madame  Millet  was  the  fair  hero 
ine  of  the  anonymous  billets,  evidently  occupied  more  of 
Morris's  attention  than  the  riots.  "  It  would  seem,"  he 
says,  "  that  the  billets  are  not  from  her  and  that  I  am 


egregiously  mistaken,  and  my  curiosity  is  strong."  M. 
Millet's  party,  planned  the  week  before,  was  fixed  for  the 
ist  of  May.  "  I  dress  and  go  to  M.  Millet's,  where 
the  party  are  to  meet.  Madame  is  waiting  for  her  bonnet, 
and  afterwards  we  wait  for  some  other  persons  of  the  com 
pany.  Proceed  to  the  Palais  de  Bourbon.  See  the  small 
apartments  and  garden.  They  are  very  beautiful.  From 
thence  we  go  to  the  cabaret,  and  dine  a  la  matelote— the 
same  company  we  had  last  week,  except  the  captain  in  the 
navy.  After  dinner,  the  women  propose  to  go  on  the 
Seine,  to  which  I  readily  agree.  We  shall  be  less  liable 
to  observation  there,  which,  considering  my  company,  is 
of  some  consequence.  M.  Millet  will  not  go  and  ma- 
dame  is  glad  to  get  rid  of  him,  which  he  seems  to  per 
ceive,  and  goes  home  alone  to  enjoy  the  reflection  which 
such  an  idea  cannot  fail  to  engender.  We  embark  in  a 
dirty  fishing  boat,  and  sit  on  dirty  boards  laid  across. 
Mademoiselle,  who  is  dressed  in  muslin  trimmed  with  hand 
some  lace,  adds  much  to  the  beauty  of  her  dress,  which  is 
completely  draggled.  Her  friend  seems  well  pleased  with 
my  attentions  to  her,  and  she  tries  to  be  modest,  but  apes 
the  character  badly.  After  descending  a  considerable  dis 
tance,  we  remount  to  the  Barriere  de  Chaillot,  but  from  a 
mistake  in  the  orders,  (which  has  been  the  loss  of  many 
battles)  our  carriages  are  not  to  be  found.  We  walk  to 
wards  town.  The  women,  as  wild  as  birds  let  out  of  a  cage, 
dispatch  the  men  different  ways,  but  yet  no  news  of  our 
equipages.  Cross  the  river,  and  go  to  look  for  them  where 
we  dined.  Not  finding  them,  we  return  to  recross  it. 
Meet  a  servant,  who  tells  me  that  carriages  are  at  the 
Grille  Chaillot.  We  recross.  The  scow  is  taken  over  by 
the  course  of  the  current,  a  rope  being  extended  across  the 
river,  and  a  pulley  moving  to  and  fro  along  it,  to  which 
pulley  the  boat  is  connected  by  a  strong  rope,  and  that 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  6/ 

end  of  the  rope  which  is  fastened  to  the  boat  moves  by 
means  of  a  loop  sliding  along  a  bar  at  the  gunwale  such 
a  distance  towards  the  end  of  the  scow  from  the  centre  as 
to  present  the  side  of  the  vessel  to  the  current,  in  an  angle 
of  about  forty-five  degrees.  By  this  means  the  scow  is 
carried  over  with  considerable  velocity.  After  waiting 
some  time  for  the  carriages  (during  which  time  the  women 
amuse  themselves  with  running  about),  they  at  length 
arrive,  and  I  come  home.  Dress  and  go  to  Madame  de 
Flahaut's.  A  large  company,  a  great  deal  of  politics,  and 
some  play.  I  do  not  get  home  till  one,  having  set  down  a 
gentleman  who  was  unprovided  of  a  carriage.  Then  I 
sit  and  read  till  near  two,  and  go  to  bed,  heartily  fatigued 
with  the  day's  amusement,  if  I  may  give  that  name  to 
things  which  did  not  amuse  me  at  all.  I  incline  to  think 
that  Madame  Roselle  is  my  unknown  correspondent,  and 
I  do  not  care  sixpence  who  it  is." 

On  the  29th  of  April  Morris  wrote  to  General  Washing 
ton  giving  him  a  description  of  M.  de  Lafayette's  suc 
cess  in  his  political  campaign  in  Auvergne.  "  He  had  to 
contend,"  he  says,  "with  the  prejudices  and  the  interests  of 
his  order,  and  with  the  influence  of  the  Queen  and  Princes, 
(except  the  Duke  of  Orleans)  but  he  was  too  able  for  his 
opponent.  He  played  the  orator  with  as  much  eclat  as  ever 
he  acted  the  soldier,  and  is  at  this  moment  as  much  envied 
and  hated  as  ever  his  heart  could  wish.  He  is  also  much 
beloved  by  the  nation,  for  he  stands  forward  as  one  of  the 
principal  champions  for  her  rights.  The  elections  are  fin 
ished  throughout  this  kingdom,  except  in  the  capital,  and 
it  appears  from  the  instructions  given  to  the  representa 
tives  (called  here  les  cahiers]  that  certain  points  are  uni 
versally  demanded,  which  when  granted  and  secured  will 
render  France  perfectly  free  as  to  the  principles  of  the 
constitution — I  say  principles,  for  one  generation  at  least 


will  be  required  to  render  the  practice  familiar.  We  have, 
I  think,  every  reason  to  wish  that  the  patriots  may  be  suc 
cessful.  The  generous  wish  which  a  free  people  must 
form  to  disseminate  freedom,  the  grateful  emotion  which 
rejoices  in  the  happiness  of  a  benefactor,  and  a  strong 
personal  interest  as  well  in  the  liberty  as  in  the  power  of 
this  country,  all  conspire  to  make  us  far  from  indifferent 
spectators.  I  say  that  we  have  an  interest  in  the  liberty  of 
France.  The  leaders  here  are  our  friends  ;  many  of  them 
have  imbibed  their  principles  in  America,  and  all  have 
been  fired  by  our  example.  Their  opponents  are  by  no 
means  rejoiced  at  the  success  of  our  Revolution,  and  many 
of  them  are  disposed  to  form  connections  of  the  strictest 
kind  with  Great  Britain.  The  commercial  treaty  emanated 
from  such  dispositions,  and,  according  to  the  usual  course 
of  those  events  which  are  shaped  by  human  wisdom,  it  will 
probably  produce  the  exact  reverse  of  what  was  intended 
by  the  projectors.  The  spirit  of  this  nation  is  at  present 
high,  and  M.  Necker  is  very  popular,  but  if  he  continues 
long  in  administration  it  will  be  somewhat  wonderful. 
His  enemies  are  numerous,  able,  and  inveterate.  His  sup 
porters  are  uncertain  as  to  his  fate,  and  will  protect  him 
no  longer  than  while  he  can  aid  in  establishing  a  con 
stitution.  But  when  once  that  great  business  is  accom 
plished  he  will  be  left  to  stand  on  his  own  ground.  The 
Court  wish  to  get  rid  of  him,  and  unless  he  shows  very 
strong  in  the  States-General  they  will  gratify  their 
wishes.  His  ability  as  a  minister  will  be  much  contested 
in  that  assembly,  but  with  what  success  time  only  can 

"The  materials  for  a  revolution  in  this  country  are  very 
indifferent.  Everybody  agrees  that  there  is  an  utter  pros 
tration  of  morals — but  this  general  position  can  never 
convey  to  the  American  mind  the  degree  of  depravity. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  69 

It  is  not  by  any  figure  of  rhetoric,  or  force  of  language, 
that  the  idea  can  be  communicated.  An  hundred  anec 
dotes  and  an  hundred  thousand  examples  are  required  to 
show  the  extreme  rottenness  of  every  member.  There  are 
men  and  women  who  are  greatly  and  eminently  virtuous. 
I  have  the  pleasure  to  number  many  in  my  own  acquaint 
ance,  but  they  stand  forward  from  a  background  deep 
ly  and  darkly  shaded.  It  is,  however,  from  such  crum 
bling  matter  that  the  great  edifice  of  freedom  is  to  be 
erected  here.  Perhaps,  like  the  stratum  of  rock  which  is 
spread  under  the  whole  surface  of  their  country,  it  may 
harden  when  exposed  to  the  air,  but  it  seems  quite  as  like 
ly  that  it  will  fall  and  crush  the  builders.  I  own  to  you 
that  I  am  not  without  such  apprehensions,  for  there  is  one 
fatal  principle  which  pervades  all  ranks.  It  is  a  perfect 
indifference  to  the  violation  of  all  engagements.  Incon 
stancy  is  so  mingled  in  the  blood,  marrow,  and  every  essence 
of  this  people,  that  when  a  man  of  high  rank  and  impor 
tance  laughs  to-day  at  what  he  seriously  asserted  yester 
day,  it  is  considered  as  in  the  natural  order  of  things. 
Consistency  is  the  phenomenon.  Judge  then  what  would 
be  the  value  of  an  association  should  such  a  thing  be  pro 
posed,  and  even  adopted.  The  great  mass  of  the  people 
have  no  religion  but  their  priests,  no  law  but  their  superi 
ors,  no  morals  but  their  interest.  These  are  the  creatures 
who,  led  by  drunken  curates,  are  now  in  the  high-road  a  la 
Liberte,  and  the  first  use  they  make  of  it  is  to  form  insur 
rections  everywhere  for  the  want  of  bread.  We  have  had  a 
little  riot  here  yesterday  and  the  day  before,  and  I  am 
told  that  some  men  have  been  killed,  but  the  affair  was  so 
distant  from  the  quarter  in  which  I  reside  that  I  know 
nothing  of  the  particulars." 

By  the   ist  of  May  the  elections  in  Paris  were  nearly 
over  and  the  first  victory  of  the  people  gained  in  the  de- 


cision  of  the  Government  that  the  Third  Estate  should 
have  a  representation  equal  in  numbers  to  that  of  the 
orders  of  the  nobles  and  clergy  combined.  On  Sunday, 
May  3rd,  the  Court  and  clergy  at  Versailles  awaited  the 
result  of  the  audience  to  be  given  to  the  deputies  on  Mon 
day.  A  superb  day  dawned — Talleyrand  says,  "  A  heav 
enly  day."  The  beautiful  lawn  of  the  palace  was  crowded 
with  groups  of  gayly  dressed  officers  and  high  dignita 
ries  of  the  church,  each  wearing  the  brilliant  tokens  of 
his  rank.  Ladies  decked  in  the  brightest  colors  and 
wearing  the  happiest  smiles  talked,  sauntered  about,  and 
sat  on  the  stone  benches  along  the  alleys  underneath  the 
delicate  spring  foliage.  In  striking  contrast  to  these  were 
the  groups  of  the  members  of  the  Third  Estate — shunned 
as  if  they  bore  the  seeds  of  a  pestilence  among  them. 
They  talked  in  whispers,  hurriedly  and  earnestly — they 
never  smiled.  Their  costume  of  black  hose  and  surtout 
and  short  black  cloak,  to  which  they  had  been  condemned 
by  the  old  sumptuary  laws  and  which  denoted  the  ple 
beian,  made  the  contrast  even  greater.  Proudly  they 
carried  themselves  in  this  dress,  but  on  their  faces  were 
care  and  gloomy  foreboding,  and  a  sudden  ominous  silence 
fell  upon  them  whenever  a  stray  member  of  the  noblesse 
happened  to  pass  near. 

On  a  balcony  of  the  palace  was  the  queen,  surrounded 
by  a  bevy  of  beauties  of  the  Court,  all  in  high  spirits,  dis 
cussing  the  pageant  of  to-morrow,  which  to  them  had  an 
interest  almost  solely  spectacular,  just  as  they  valued  the 
Salle  des  Menus  as  a  room  where  their  beauty  could  be  seen 
to  the  best  advantage  because  it  was  lighted  from  above. 
Mr.  Morris  speaks  of  visiting  Madame  de  Lafayette  and 
finding  that  "  they  are  on  the  move  to  Versailles.  Lafay 
ette  is  already  there  to  pay  his  respects  in  quality  of  rep 
resentative.  I  go  and  sit  a  while  with  Madame  de  Puisi- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  /I 

gnieu  at  her  toilet.  Then  go  to  see  Madame  de  Segur, 
and  amuse  myself  with  the  children,  and  leave  her  at  her 
toilet,  to  meet  her  again  to-night  at  Madame  de  Puisi- 
gnieu's,  and  she  tells  me  she  will  stay  the  whole  evening  in 
consequence  of  my  being  there  instead  of  keeping  another 
engagement.  .  .  .  During  the  evening  a  gentleman  enter 
tains  the  ladies  with  the  description  of  the  hanging  match 
last  Thursday.  He  is  colonel  of  a  regiment  which  was  on 
duty  to  attend  the  execution.  We  drink  a  great  deal  of 
weak  tea,  which  Madame  de  la  Suze  says  very  justly  is  du 
lait  coupe.  Madame  de  Segur  comes  in  while  the  com 
pany  are  at  supper,  and  I  tell  her  very  truly  that  I  was 
just  going  away  but  will  now  stay.  The  conversation  in 
our  corner  turns  as  usual  upon  politics,  and  among  other 
things  on  the  want  of  grain.  M.  Necker  is  a  good  deal 
blamed,  but  in  my  opinion  very  undeservedly.  One  fool 
ish  thing  has  indeed  been  committed,  and  that  is  the  only 
one  which  they  do  not  find  fault  with.  It  is  the  order  for 
searching  the  barns  of  the  farmers.  The  riot,  also,  is  dis 
missed.  The  Baron  de  Besenval,  who  gave  the  order  for 
quelling  it,  seems  vastly  pleased  with  his  work.  He  or 
dered,  it  seems,  two  pieces  of  cannon  with  the  Swiss  guards, 
and  when  preparations  were  made  for  firing  them  the  mob 
took  to  their  heels.  It  is  therefore  agreed  that  the  Baron 
is  a  great  general — and  as  the  women  say  so  it  would  be 
folly  and  madness  to  controvert  their  opinion.  If  I  were 
a  military  man  I  should  incline  to  think  that  two  four- 
pounders  could  not  be  of  much  use  in  a  city  like  this, 
where  the  streets  are  in  general  so  narrow  as  only  to  per 
mit  two  carriages  to  go  abreast,  where  the  same  narrow 
streets  are  very  crooked,  and  where  the  houses  are  in  gen 
eral  four  to  six  stories  of  stone  walls.  But  as  I  am  not 
versed  in  the  art  of  war  it  is  my  duty  to  agree  with  the 
rest  that  a  man  must  indeed  be  a  great  general  who,  with 


only  1,500  troops,  infantry  and  cavalry,  and,  above  all,  with 
only  two  pieces  of  artillery,  could  disperse  ten  or  fifteen 
thousand,  chiefly  spectators,  but  the  seditious,  to  the 
amount  of  three  thousand,  completely  armed  with  sticks 
and  stones." 

"  Mr.  Jefferson  to-day  [May  3d]  tells  me  of  a  billet  for  the 
audience  to-morrow  which  Madame  de  Tesse  reserves  for 
Mr.  Short,  and  which  he  will  get  for  me  as  Short  cannot  be 
here.  I  urge  on  M.  de  Lafayette,  who  dines  with  us,  the 
election  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  and  give  my  reasons  for 
it.  He  tells  me  he  will  be  elected.  Mention  to  him  a  way 
of  placing  M.  Necker  advantageously,  which  he  thinks 
would  be  very  useful.  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux,  who 
is  so  kind  as  to  bring  me  the  form  of  the  ceremonial  of 
to-morrow  from  the  Duchess  of  Orleans,  and  at  the  same 
time  a  message.  If  she  can,  will  pay  a  visit.  Madame  de 
Chastellux  proposes  to  obtain  through  her  a  ticket  for  the 
audience  for  me.  M.  le  Marechal  de  Segur  comes  in. 
After  some  conversation,  a  message  from  the  Duchess. 
She  cannot  visit  this  evening,  being  too  much  engaged  in 
writing.  I  come  home  to  go  early  to  bed,  as  I  must  set 
off  early  to-morrow  for  Versailles." 

On  Monday,  May  4th,  the  grand  procession  of  the  depu 
ties  to  the  States-General  formed  and  defiled  through  the 
streets  of  Versailles  to  the  Church  of  St.  Louis.  The  same 
costumes  were  enforced  as  in  the  last  States-General, 
more  than  one  hundred  and  seventy  years  before,  and  the 
same  etiquette,  but  it  was  the  last  gala  day  of  the  old 
monarchy.  All  ranks  and  classes  were  astir  this  morning. 
All  turned  their  faces  toward  Versailles — the  goal  of  all 
their  hopes.  Morris  was  among  the  number.  He  says  : 
11  At  six  this  morning  I  set  off  for  Versailles.  Am  over 
taken  on  the  road  by  M.  le  Normand  and  M.  La  Caze. 
We  alight  and  walk  together  through  the  streets  till  the 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  73 

procession  commences,  except  a  little  while  that  I  sit  with 
Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  was  so  kind  as  to  send  and  offer 
me  part  of  a  window.  While  we  wait  for  the  procession 
the  conversation  turns  on  the  bal  de  1'opera.  M.  de  la 
Ville  Blanche  tells  me  a  story  somewhat  characteristic  of 
national  manners.  His  wife  and  a  lady,  her  friend,  went 
thither  together.  After  a  while  they  separated,  and,  meet 
ing  again,  conversed  a  long  time,  the  lady  being  perfectly 
ignorant  who  the  person  was  whom  he  had  picked  up,  for 
she  was  with  him.  After  the  ball  was  over  and  all  three 
had  got  home,  they  rallied  the  friend  for  being  so  taken 
in.  She  could  give  no  other  reason  for  being  so  much  de 
ceived,  but  that  madame  was  in  company  with  monsieur 
and  therefore  she  could  not  possibly  suppose  it  was  his 

While  the  lookers-on  thoughtlessly  talked,  laughed,  and 
joked,  careless  of  all  but  the  gay  scene,  the  procession 
moved  on.  The  nobles  glittered  in  gorgeous  dresses  and 
orders.  The  bishops,  superb  in  violet  robes,  were  followed 
by  their  humble  cures  in  modest  garb.  The  Commons  were 
in  black  mantles,  very  plain,  and  hats  without  feathers. 
Louis  XVI. ,  beautiful  Marie  Antoinette,  with  her  rnaids 
of  honor  and  the  brilliant  Court,  completed  the  pict 
ure.  Morris  says:  "The  procession  is  very  magnificent, 
through  a  double  row  of  tapestry.  Neither  the  King  nor 
Queen  appears  too  well  pleased.  The  former  is  repeatedly 
saluted  as  he  passes  along  with  the  Vive  le  Roi,  but  the  latter 
meets  not  a  single  acclamation.  She  looks,  however,  with 
contempt  on  the  scene  in  which  she  acts  a  part  and  seems 
to  say  :  '  For  the  present  I  submit  but  I  shall  have  my  time/ 
I  find  that  my  conjecture  as  to  the  Queen's  temper  and  the 
King's  is  right,  when  I  make  a  short  visit  in  the  salon  of 
Madame  de  Chastellux  later,  and,  as  she  is  going  to  the 
Duchess,  she  tells  me  that  the  King  was  vexed  that  the 


Duke  of  Orleans*  should  walk  as  representative  and  not 
as  prince  of  the  blood,  and  also  that  his  consort  received 
no  mark  of  public  satisfaction.  She  was  exceedingly 
hurt.  Her  conversation  on  meeting  the  Duchess  of  Orleans, 
who,  as  well  as  the  Duke,  had  been  repeatedly  applauded : 
'  Madame,  il  y  a  une  demi-heure  que  je  vous  ai  attendue 
chez  moi.'  '  Madame,  en  vous  attendant  ici  (at  the  Church 
of  Notre  Dame),  j'ai  obei  a  1'ordre  qu'on  m'a  envoye  de  la 
part  du  Roi.'  '  Eh  bien,  madame,  je  n'ai  point  de  place 
pour  vous,  comme  vous  n'etes  pas  venue.'  'C'est  juste, 
madame.  Aussi,  ai-je  des  voitures  a  moi  qui  m'attendent.' 
I  cannot  help  feeling  the  mortification  the  poor  Queen 
meets  with,  for  I  see  only  the  woman,  and  it  seems  un 
manly  to  treat  a  woman  with  unkindness.  Madame  de 
Chastellux  tells  me  a  sprightly  reply  of  Madame  Adelaide, 
the  King's  aunt,  who,  when  the  Queen  in  a  fit  of  resentment, 
speaking  of  this  nation,  said,  *  Ces  indignes  Francais ! ' 
exclaimed,  '  Dites  indignes,  madame.'  The  Duchess  of 
Orleans  could  not  get  a  billet  for  me,  but  the  Duchesse  de 
Bourbon  has  promised  to  try,  and  if  she  succeeds  will  send 
it  to  the  Palais  Royal  this  evening,  and  in  that  case  Ma 
dame  de  Chastellux  will  receive  it  from  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans  and  send  it  to  me.  Return  home,  receive  a  note 
from  Mr.  Jefferson  assuring  me  that  I  can  get  a  ticket 
from  Madame  de  Tesse  who  has  reserved  one  for  Mr. 
Short,  who  is  not  arrived.  This  has  been  so  fine  a  day 
that  walking  about  without  my  hat  has  got  my  face 
scorched  exceedingly,  and  both  my  forehead  and  eyes  are 

The  5th  of  May,  the  day  long  looked  for,  had  come,  and 
royalty  welcomed  the  national  estates  with  all  pomp  and 

*  Duke  of  Orleans,  cousin  of  the  king  and  afterward  the  celebrated  revo 
lutionary  Philippe  Egalite.  Never  a  favorite  of  the  queen,  he  was  tolerated 
at  Court  only  on  account  of  his  wife. 



splendor  in  the  great  Salle  des  Menus.  The  king,  with 
his  ministers  of  state  in  front,  the  queen  and  princes  of 
the  blood  at  his  side,  sat  on  a  magnificent  throne  of  pur 
ple  and  gold.  Morris  says  he  reached  Versailles  early, 
and  at  a  little  after  eight  got  into  the  hall.  "  I  sit  there  in 
a  cramped  situation  till  after  twelve,  during  which  time  the 
different  members  are  brought  in  and  placed,  one  '  bail- 
liage '  after  the  other.  When  M.  Necker  comes  in  he  is 
loudly  and  repeatedly  clapped,  and  so  is  the  Duke  of  Or 
leans  ;  also  a  Bishop  who  has  long  lived  in  his  diocese, 
and  practised  there  what  his  profession  enjoins.  Another 
Bishop,  who  preached  yesterday  a  sermon  which  I  did 
not  hear,  is  applauded,  but  those  near  me  say  that  this  ap 
plause  is  unmerited.  An  old  man  who  refused  to  dress  in 
the  costume  prescribed  for  the  Tiers,  and  who  appears  in 
his  farmer's  habit,  receives  a  long  and  loud  plaudit.  M. 
de  Mirabeau  is  hissed,  though  not  loudly.  The  King  at 
length  arrives,  and  takes  his  seat  ;  the  Queen  on  his  left, 
two  steps  lower  than  him.  He  makes  a  short  speech, 
very  proper,  and  well  spoken  or  rather  read.  The  tone 
and  manner  have  all  the  fierte  which  can  be  expected  or 
desired  from  the  blood  of  the  Bourbons.  He  is  interrupt 
ed  in  the  reading  by  acclamations  so  warm  and  of  such 
lively  affection  that  the  tears  start  from  my  eyes  in  spite 
of  myself.  The  Queen  weeps  or  seems  to  weep,  but  not 
one  voice  is  heard  to  wish  her  well.  I  would  certainly 
raise  my  voice  if  I  were  a  Frenchman  ;  but  I  have  no 
right  to  express  a  sentiment,  and  in  vain  solicit  those  who 
are  near  me  to  do  it.  After  the  King  has  spoken  he  takes 
off  his  hat,  and  when  he  puts  it  on  again  his  nobles  imi 
tate  his  example.  Some  of  the  Tiers  do  the  same,  but 
by  degrees  they  take  them  off  again.  The  King  then  takes 
off  his  hat.  The  Queen  seems  to  think  it  wrong,  and  a 
conversation  seems  to  pass  in  which  the  King  tells  her  he 

76  DIARY  AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  ill. 

chooses  to  do  it  whether  consistent  or  not  consistent  with 
the  ceremonial  ;  but  I  could  not  swear  to  this,  being  too 
far  distant  to  see  very  distinctly,  much  less  to  hear.  The 
nobles  uncover  by  degrees,  so  that,  if  the  ceremonial  re 
quires  three  manoeuvres,  the  troops  are  not  yet  properly 
drilled.  After  the  King's  speech  and  the  covering  and 
uncoverings,  the  Garde  des  Sceaux  makes  one  much 
longer,  but  it  is  delivered  in  a  very  ungraceful  manner, 
and  so  indistinctly  that  nothing  can  be  judged  of  it  by 
me — until  it  is  in  print.  When  he  has  done,  M.  Necker 
rises.  He  tries  to  play  the  orator,  but  he  plays  it  very  ill. 
The  audience  salute  him  with  a  long,  loud  plaudit.  Ani 
mated  by  their  approbation,  he  falls  into  action  and  em 
phasis,  but  a  bad  accent  and  an  ungraceful  manner  de 
stroy  much  of  the  effect  which  ought  td  follow  from  a 
composition  written  by  M.  Necker  and  spoken  by  M. 
Necker.  He  presently  asks  the  King's  leave  to  employ  a 
clerk,  which  being  granted,  the  clerk  proceeds  in  the  lect 
ure.  It  is  very  long.  It  contains  much  information  and 
many  things  very  fine,  but  it  is  too  long,  and  has  many 
repetitions  and  too  much  compliment,  and  what  the  French 
call  emphase.  The  plaudits  were  loud,  long,  and  incessant. 
These  will  convince  the  King  and  Queen  of  the  national  sen 
timent,  and  tend  to  prevent  the  intrigue  against  the  pres 
ent  administration,  at  least  for  a  while.  After  the  speech 
is  over  the  King  rises  to  depart,  and  receives  a  long  and 
affecting  Vive  le  roi.  The  Queen  rises,  and  to  my  great 
satisfaction  she  hears  for  the  first  time  in  several  months 
the  sound  of,  Vive  la  Reine.  She  makes  a  low  courtesy  and 
this  produces  a  louder  acclamation,  and  that  a  lower  cour 
tesy.  As  soon  as  I  can  disengage  myself  from  the  crowd, 
I  find  my  servant  and  I  go  where  my  carriage  put  up,  in 
order  to  proceed  to  Paris,  being  tolerably  hungry  and  not 
inclined  to  ask  anyone  for  a  dinner,  as  I  am  convinced 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  77 

that  more  such  requests  will  be  made  this  day  than  will  be 
agreeable  to  those  who  have  dinners  to  bestow.  I  find 
that  my  horses  are  not  harnessed,  and  that  I  am  at  a  trai- 
teur's.  I  ask  for  dinner,  and  am  shown  into  a  room 
where  there  is  a  table  d'hote,  and  some  of  the  Tiers  are  sat 
down  to  it.  We  enter  into  conversation,  talk  of  the  man 
ner  of  voting.  Tell  them  that  I  think  when  their  new 
constitution  is  formed  it  will  be  well  for  them  to  vote/^r 
ordre,  but  in  forming  it  to  vote  par  tete.  Those  who  best 
understand  the  thing  incline  to  this  opinion,  but  they  are 
from  Brittany,  and  one  of  them  inveighs  so  strongly 
against  the  tyranny  of  the  nobles,  and  attacks  his  brother 
so  warmly,  that  the  others  come  about,  and  one,  a  noble 
representing  the  Tiers,  is  so  vociferous  against  his  order 
that  I  am  convinced  he  meant  to  rise  by  his  eloquence, 
and  finally  will,  I  expect,  vote  with  the  opinion  of  the 
Court,  let  that  be  what  it  may.  I  rise,  wish  them  very  sin 
cerely  a  perfect  accord  and  good  understanding  with  each 
other,  and  set  off  for  Paris." 

A  week  later  the  weather  grew  hot,  and  the  dust  and 
dirt  became  unbearable  ;  even  the  garden  of  the  Palais 
Royal  "is,"  says  Morris,  "as  dusty  as  a  highway  and 
absolutely  intolerable."  Of  the  other  intolerable  nui 
sances  of  the  Palais  Royal,  the  lawlessness  and  vice,  and 
the  oratorical  efforts  of  the  agitators,  Morris  makes 
little  mention  ;  but  evidently  Paris  had  lost  some  of  its 
attraction,  and,  glad  to  escape  from  it  to  the  cool  of  the 
country,  he  went  to  the  home  of  M.  Le  Coulteux.  "The 
country  through  which  I  drive  to  reach  Lucennes,"  he 
says  (May  9th),  "  is  highly  cultivated,  and  on  the  sides  of  the 
hills  under  the  fruit  trees  I  observe  currant  and  goose 
berry  bushes,  also  grape  vines.  Probably  this  mode  of  cul 
tivating  the  vine  would  succeed  in  America.  M.  Le  Coul- 
teux's  house  was  formerly  the  property  of  a  prince  of 


Conde,  built  in  the  old  style  but  tolerably  convenient,  and 
the  situation  delicious.  His  mother  and  sister  arrive  in 
the  evening,  and  his  cousin  De  Canteleu.  The  Tiers  con 
tinue  to  meet  and  to  do  nothing,  as  they  are  desirous  of 
voting  par  tete,  and  the  other  orders  do  not  join  them. 
Sunday  morning  [May  loth]  we  drive  to  the  aqueduct  of 
Marli  and  ascend  to  the  top.  The  view  is  exquisite — the 
Seine  winding  along  through  a  valley  very  highly  culti 
vated,  innumerable  villages,  at  a  distance  the  domes  of 
Paris  on  one  side,  the  Palace  of  St.  Germain,  very  near, 
on  the  other,  a  vast  forest  behind  and  the  Palace  of 
Marli  in  the  front  of  it  embowered  in  a  deep  shade,  the 
bells  from  a  thousand  steeples  at  different  distances  mur 
muring  through  the  air,  the  fragrance  of  the  morning, 
the  vernal  freshness  of  the  air — oh,  how  delicious  !  I 
stand  this  moment  on  a  vast  monument  of  human  pride, 
and  behold  every  gradation  from  wretchedness  to  mag 
nificence  in  the  scale  of  human  existence.  We  breakfast 
between  ten  and  eleven,  and  walk  over  the  garden,  and 
upon  our  return  ride  to  Marli.  The  garden  is  truly  royal, 
and  yet  pleasing,  the  house  tolerable,  the  furniture  in 
different.  We  are  told  by  the  Swiss  that  they  are  prepar 
ing  for  His  Majesty's  reception.  Return  to  the  house  of 
M.  L.  Le  Coulteux  and  dress.  On  entering  the  salon  our 
company  is  increased  by  the  representatives  of  Normandy. 
We  had  already  received  an  accession  of  a  banker  and  his 
two  sisters  at  breakfast.  At  dinner  we  have  a  political 
conversation  which  I  continue  with  the  Normans  after 
dinner,  and  we  finally  agree  in  our  opinions.  Discuss,  by 
way  of  an  episode,  the  propriety  of  an  India  company. 
This  afternoon  we  visit  the  Pavilion  of  Madame  du  Barry.* 

*  After  Louis  XV.  died  the  young  King  Louis  XVI  pensioned  Madame 
du  Barry,  besides  allowing  her  the  free  use  of  her  ill-gotten  wealth.  She 
was  excluded  from  appearing  at  Court  and  virtually  exiled  from  Paris  to  the 
"Chateau  aux  Dames."  His  forbearance  was  noticed  by  her  following  as 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  79 

This  temple  is  consecrated  to  the  immorality  of  Louis 
Quinze.  It  is  in  fine  taste  and  the  finish  is  exquisite  ; 
the  view  most  delightful,  and  yet  very  extensive.  In  re 
turning  from  thence  we  see  Madame  du  Barry.  She  is 
long  passed  the  day  of  beauty,  and  is  accompanied  by  an 
old  coxcomb,  the  Prevot  des  Marchands.*  They  bend 
their  course  towards  the  Pavilion,  perhaps  to  worship  on 
those  altars  which  the  sovereign  raised.  From  the  Pa 
vilion  we  ascend  the  hill  and  go  between  the  house  and 
the  fishpond,  which  smells  abominably,  to  see  the  villagers 
dance.  Returned  to  the  house  I  have  a  talk  with  Laurejit 
Le  Coulteux  on  the  subject  of  the  purchase  of  the  debt 
due  to  France.  He  wishes  me  to  have  an  interview  with 
M.  Necker.  This  matter  has  hitherto  met  with  great 
obstacles  and  difficulties,  from  the  peculiar  temper  of  M. 
Necker,  who  is  what  may  be  called  a  cunning  man,  and 
therefore  those  acquainted  with  him  do  not  choose  to 
come  forward  at  once  openly,  because  they  are  certain 
that  he  would  first  assume  the  merit  of  having  previously 
known  everything  which  they  communicate,  and,  secondly, 
would  take  advantage  of  such  communications  to  defeat 
their  object  if  he  could  get  by  any  means  any  better  terms 
from  others  to  whom  he  should  start  the  idea.  To  deal 
with  such  a  person  requires  caution  and  delicacy.  Lau 
rent  says  he  cannot  get  M.  Necker  to  finish  the  business 
they  already  have  to  do  with  him,  but  will,  if  I  please,  get 
me  an  interview  with  him.  He  thinks  it  must  be  man 
aged  merely  as  a  matter  of  finance,  in  which  I  own  that 
my  opinion  has  from  the  first  accorded  with  his.  I  take 

more  than  could  have  been  expected  by  her,  owing  to  the  levity  with  which 
she  had  always  treated  the  Dauphin. 

*  The  Prevots  des  Marchands  were  officers  of  the  highest  antiquity.  The 
appointment  was  made  by  the  king,  sometimes  for  two  years,  or  renewed 
every  year  at  his  pleasure,  and  their  jurisdiction  extended  over  the  revenues 
of  the  Hotel  de  Ville,  the  quays  and  wharves  of  the  river. 


M.  Laurent  with  me,  and  on  our  return  to  Paris  he  vents 
a  good  deal  of  ill  humor  on  M.  Necker,  who  has  kept  him 
a  long  time  in  play  and  now,  as  he  suspects,  (I  believe 
with  truth)  keeps  De  Canteleu  in  the  same  position.  He 
tells  me  that  their  object  is  to  get  an  order  for  money 
acknowledgedly  due.  He  has  an  invitation  to  dine  with 
M.  Necker  and  is  then,  if  the  conversation  be  turned  upon 
that  topic,  to  recommend  to  M.  Necker  an  interview  with 
me.  After  a  pleasant  ride  of  two  hours  we  reach  Paris." 

Back  again  in  Paris,  the  old  routine  commenced,  writ 
ing,  receiving  innumerable  visitors,  and  making  calls  in 
return.  "In  the  evening  [May  nth]  I  go,"  he  says,  "and 
sit  with  Madame  de  Chastellux.  She  receives  a  message 
from  the  Duchess  and  sends  her  answer  that  I  am  with 
her,  and  have  charged  her  with  a  commission,  etc.  This 
is  to  make  my  thanks  for  her  Royal  Highness's  kind  at 
tention  in  sending  to  Versailles  for  a  ticket  of  admission 
to  the  opening  of  the  States-General.  In  a  few  minutes 
she  comes  in,  tells  me  that  she  came  on  purpose  to  see  me, 
observes  that  I  have  been  out  of  town,  hopes  to  see  me 
frequently  at  Madame  de  Chastellux's,  is  sorry  the  pres 
ent  visit  must  be  so  short,  but  is  going  with  Madame  de 
Chastellux  to  take  a  ride  and  make  some  visits.  To  all 
this  I  can  make  no  reply,  but  by  look  and  manner  expres 
sive  of  deep  humility  and  a  grateful  sense  of  the  honor 
done  to  me.  In  fact,  my  tongue  has  never  been  sufficiently 
practised  in  this  jargon,  and  always  asks  my  heart  what 
it  shall  say,  and  while  this  last,  after  deliberation,  refers  to 
my  head  for  counsel,  the  proper  moment  has  passed.  As 
I  think  I  understand  her  Royal  Highness,  and  arn  toler 
ably  safe  on  the  side  of  vanity,  there  remains  but  one  port 
to  guard,  and  that  is  shut  up.  She  has  perhaps  the  hand 
somest  arm  in  France,  and  from  habit  takes  off  her  glove, 
and  has  always  occasion  to  touch  some  part  of  her  face  so 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  8 1 

as  to  show  the  hand  and  arm  to  advantage.  Call  on  Ma 
dame  Dumolley,  who  is  at  chess.  Madame  Cabarus*  comes 
in.  I  tell  her  that  it  is  the  fault  of  La  Gaze  that  I  have 
not  paid  my  respects  at  her  Hotel.  She  tells  me  I  need 
no  introducer.  She  has  a  beautiful  hand,  and  very  fine 
eyes.  These  in  a  very  intelligible  manner  say  that  she 
has  no  objection  to  receiving  the  assurance  how  fine  they 
are.  She  goes  soon  to  Madrid,  and  will  be  glad  to  see  me 
both  here  and  there.  Slip  away  without  staying  to  sup 
per  and  return  home.  The  weather  is  extremely  warm 
and  like  to  continue  so.  The  spring  of  Europe,  which  has 
been  much  vaunted  by  the  natives  from  affection,  and  the 
prejudices  which  it  occasions,  and  by  travellers  from  the 
vanity  of  appearing  to  have  seen  or  tasted  or  smelt  or  felt 
something  purer  or  newer  or  sweeter  or  softer  than  their 
neighbors — the  spring  of  Europe  has  reduced  itself,  this 
year  at  least,  to  one  week,  namely,  the  three  last  days  of 
April  and  the  first  four  of  May,  and  in  this  short  spring 
Parker,  by  changing  his  waistcoat,  has  taken  the  rheuma 

Thursday,  May  i4th,  Morris  spent  at  Versailles  ;  called 
on  several  of  his  fair  friends,  and  "in  my  way  about  the 
town,"  he  declares,  "  I  wander  to  the  Queen's  apartments, 
which  are  furnished  in  very  good  taste.  Pass  from  thence 
to  the  chapel,  in  which  there  is  just  as  much  devotion  as  I 
expected.  Call  on  Madame  de  Segur  and  sit  a  while  at 
her  toilet.  She  says  she  is  heartily  tired  of  Versailles, 
which  I  believe.  She  shows  me  a  declaration  of  the  clergy 
of  Paris — highly  monarchical,  and  which  will  do  them  no 
good.  After  leaving  her,  a  shower  of  rain  arising,  I  take 
refuge  in  the  antechamber  of  M.  de  Montmorin,  who  asks 

*  Madame  Cabarus  was  the  wife  of  Count  Francois  Cabarus,  who  in  1782 
established  the  bank  of  San  Carlos,  at  Madrid.     Cabarus   was  arrested  in 
1790,  but  was  released,  and  in  1797  appointed  Minister  Plenipotentiary  at  the 
Congress  of  Rastadt. 


me  if  I  am  come  to  dine  with  him,  tq  which  I  reply  in  the 
negative.  He  tells  me  I  must  come  some  day,  which  I 
promise  to  do.  Dine  with  M.  de  Lafayette — we  have  here 
the  politics  of  the  day.  Call  on  Madame  de  Montvoisseux, 
who  asks  me  to  go  with  her  party  to  the  Queen's  gardens 
at  Petit  Trianon.  We  walk  about  the  garden  a  good  deal. 
Royalty  has  here  endeavored  at  great  expense  to  conceal 
itself  from  its  own  eye.  But  the  attempt  is  vain.  A  dairy 
furnished  with  the  porcelain  of  Sevres  is  a  semblance  too 
splendid  for  rural  life.  The  adjoining  muddy  pond,  on 
the  other  hand,  but  poorly  resembles  a  lake.  On  the 
whole  this  garden  is  handsome,  and  yet  the  money  applied 
in  making  it  has  been  but  badly  spent,  and  would  be 
not  badly  spared.  I  observe  a  number  of  representatives 
to  the  States-General  walking  about  in  it.  Perhaps  there 
is  not  one  of  them  who  thinks  of  what  ought  to  strike 
them  all,  that  this  expense  and  others  like  this  have  occa 
sioned  their  meeting.  Return  pretty  late  to  town  and  sup 
with  Capellis  and  his  fair  aunt,  Madame  de  Flahaut.  An 
other  lady  is  there,  who  derives  much  pleasure  from  the 
sound  of  her  own  voice.  The  day  has  been  extremely 
hot ;  a  shower  in  the  evening  does  not  render  the  air  much 

"This  morning  [May  i6th]  is  windy,  cold,  rainy,  and 
disagreeable  ;  but  in  consistence  with  my  arrangements  in 
concert  with  M.  Le  Coulteux,  I  set  off  for  Lucennes,  and 
arrive  there  a  little  after  two  o'clock.  He  and  his  family 
have  been  expected  for  two  days,  but  none  are  come,  and 
as  the  cook  has  not  made  his  appearance  it  is  evident  that 
he  will  not  be  out  to  dinner.  Go  to  a  tavern  where,  with 
very  promising  appearances,  the  utmost  the  house  can 
aiford  is  a  mackerel,  a  pigeon,  fresh  eggs,  and  asparagus. 
The  first  has  probably  been  too  long  on  his  travels  and  ac 
quired  too  much  of  the  haut  gotit  for  a  plain  American. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  83 

This  circumstance  occasions  the  death  of  the  solitary 
pigeon,  who  is  thereby  released  from  the  confinement  in 
which  he  was  starving.  The  cookery  and  the  provisions 
are  worthy  of  each  other — so  that  this  day  at  least  I  shall 
run  no  risk  of  indigestion.  Mine  host,  in  a  laudable  zeal 
for  the  honor  of  his  house,  makes  up  in  the  bill  what  was 
deficient  in  the  dinner.  By  this  means  the  dishes  make  a 
very  respectable  figure.  The  poor  little  pigeon  is  rated 
at  something  more  than  a  shilling,  and  the  bunch  of  spin 
dled  asparagus  at  about  three  shillings,  which  is  not  un 
reasonable—considering  the  eggs  are  at  about  threepence 
apiece.  After  this  repast,  go  to  Malmaison,  where  all  is 
topsy-turvy,  a  strong  smell  of  paint  in  the  house,  and  add 
ed  to  that  a  dish  of  cabbage  and  vinegar  boiling,  which 
gives  another  smell  not  a  whit  more  pleasant.  Walk  over 
the  garden,  which  is  agreeable.  Madame  Dumolley  takes 
me  in  her  'whiskey,'  and  we  have  a  mighty  pleasant  ride 
in  one  of  the  Royal  parks.  I  take  tea  with  Madame,  and 
return  to  town  after  a  very  pleasant  day." 

Going  a  few  days  later  to  call  on  Madame  de  Suze,  he 
found  her  "in  a  scene  of  great  distress" — which  he  de 
scribes  with  a  touch,  at  least,  of  humor.  "  Her  lapdog  be 
ing  very  ill,  the  pauvre  bete  has  suffered  now  for  a  long 
time.  At  first  it  had  the  maladie  napolitaine ;  for  this  it 
was  sent  to  the  doctor  of  dogs,  who  by  a  course  of  mercu 
rials  eradicated  this  disease,  and  returned  him  as  complete 
a  skeleton  as  ever  came  out  of  the  powdering  tub.  The 
kind  mistress,  by  her  care  and  assiduity,  soon  brought  him 
up  to  a  tolerable  embonpoint,  when,  lo  !  another  indispo 
sition.  This  is  tres  grave,  et  voila  Madame,  la  fille  de 
chambre  et  un  des  valets,  qui  ne  s'occupent  que  de  cela. 
At  three  different  times  in  my  short  visit:  'Jevous  de- 
mande  bien  pardon,  M.  Morris — mais  c'est  une  chose  si  de- 
solante  que  de  voir  souffrir  comme  ca  une  pauvre  bete.' 


'  Ah  !  Madame,  ne  me  faites  point  de  vos  excuses,  je  vous  en 
prie,  pour  des  soins  si  aimables,  aussi  merites  que  toutes 
vos  attentions.'  At  length,  by  peeping  into  his  back,  she 
discovers  a  little  maggot.  '  Ah,  mon  Dieu  !  Mais,  voyez 
done!'  I  leave  them  to  go  to  dine  with  M.  la  Breteche. 
We  have  the  envoy  of  Saxe-Gotha  and  M.  de  Durfort 
of  the  guards.  After  dinner,  walk  to  the  pavilion  and 
sit  some  time.  The  tutor  of  the  son  of  M.  de  Durfort, 
who  was  with  her  husband  some  time  at  Florence,  gives 
us  a  long  account  of  Italy,  during  which  I  am  so  unfortu 
nate  as  to  fall  asleep,  sitting  next  to  Madame.  Among 
other  things,  he  mentions  the  want  of  cleanliness  among 
the  Italians  as  very  shocking,  and  speaks  of  it  with  the 
same  air  of  horror  which  some  people  put  on  when  they 
notice  a  similar  defect  in  the  French." 



Morris  surprised  at  Parisian  manners  and  customs.  Tea  in  the  Palais 
Royal.  Visit  to  Romainville.  M.  de  Beaujolais.  Morris  writes 
verses  to  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Careless  driving.  Made  a  mem 
ber  of  the  Club  of  Valois.  Interviews  with  Judges.  Note  on  the  to 
bacco  contracts.  The  Dauphin's  death.  States-General  more  than 
ever  embroiled.  Morris  stands  for  Houdon's  statue  of  Washington. 
Strictures  on  the  Bishop  d'Autun.  Visit  to  Raincy.  The  clergy 
join  the  Tiers.  The  Salle  des  Menus  closed.  Bath  in  the  Tennis 
Court.  Great  excitement  in  Paris.  Morris's  sentiments  quoted.  His 
interest  in  France.  Necker  offers  to  resign.  The  mob  at  Versailles. 
Inflammatory  publications  at  the  Palais  Royal.  The  nobles  join  the 
other  orders.  Revolt  among  the  guards.  The  Abbaye  broken  open. 
The  king  terrified. 

IT  is  impossible  not  to  see  the  eyebrows  slightly  raised 
and  the  look  of  surprise  on  Morris's  face  as  he  notes 
the  manners  and  customs  of  the  ladies  of  Paris.  "  What 
would  have  induced  one  of  my  countrywomen  to  place 
herself  in  such  a  position  ? "  he  says,  on  one  occasion, 
when  a  very  extraordinary  request  was  made  to  him,  hardly 
suitable  for  ears  polite.  While  sitting  one  evening  with  a 
friend  in  the  Palais  Royal,  drinking  lemonade  and  tea, 
"  the  waiter  comes  to  tell  me  that  two  ladies  are  without  who 
wish  to  speak  to  me.  These,  I  find,  are  Madame  de  Bour- 
sac  and  Madame  d'Espanchall,  whom  we  had  met  before  at 
the  Tuileries.  A  good  deal  of  light,  trivial  conversation, 
in  which  these  ladies  intimate  to  me  that  their  nuptial 
bonds  do  not  at  all  straighten  their  conduct,  and  it  would 
seem  that  either  would  be  content  to  form  an  intrigue. 


As  they  can  have  no  real  want  of  lovers,  and  as  they  can 
have  no  prepossession  in  my  favor,  this  conduct  evidently 
resolves  itself  into  some  other  motive — probably  a  view  to 
somej'0/is  cadeaux.  As  I  have  a  vast  fund  of  indifference  on 
the  subject,  I  say  a  number  of  handsome  nothings,  and  as 
the  ladies  are  relieved  by  my  presence  from  the  scandal  of 
being  alone  and  the  ennui  of  a  female  tete-a-tete,  I  shall 
have  the  credit  with  them  of  being  more  agreeable,  et 
plus  homme  d' esprit,  than  I  am,  by  a  great  deal." 

To  fulfil  an  engagement  made  with  Madame  de  Chastel- 
lux  to  visit  the  Marquis  de  Segur,  Morris  went  to  her 
apartments  on  the  day  appointed  and  found  her  in  at 
tendance  upon  the  Duchess  at  her  prayers.  She  brought 
a  message  from  her  Royal  Highness  of  regret  that  Mr. 
Morris  had  not  gone  to  see  her  at  her  apartment,  and  that 
she  would  be  glad  to  see  him  any  morning.  "  I  agree  t6 
pay  a  visit  to  her  with  Madame  de  Chastellux.  We  get 
into  my  carriage,  and  go  to  Romainville,  the  seat  of 
M.  de  Segur.  The  view  is  very  fine  from  the  house  and 
from  different  parts  of  the  garden,  at  the  foot  of  which  is 
a  charming  little  cottage.  In  the  garden  I  remark  an 
obelisk  dedicated  to  friendship.  It  is  erected  by  the 
Baron  de  Besenval  (I  suppose),  who  was  most  intimately 
the  friend  of  Madame  de  Segur  as  well  as  with  the  Mare- 
chal.  She,  with  an  unusual  degree  of  candor,  avowed  her 
passion  to  her  husband,  and  all  three  lived  very  happily 
together  until  her  death.  The  present  Vicomte  de  Segur 
is  son  to  the  Baron,  and  his  elder  brother  is  supposed  to 
be  son  to  the  Marechal.  The  Comtesse  de  Segur  does 
very  well  the  honors  of  the  house,  being  a  very  sensible 
and,  indeed,  a  lovely  woman.  The  Prince  and  Princess 
Galitzen*  dine  this  day  at  Romainville.  He  tells  me  he 

*  Prince  Dimitri  Galitzen,  a  Russian  diplomatist  and  author,  at  that  time 
Resident  Minister  at  the  Hague. 

1789-1  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  8/ 

has  been  from  home  now  about  seven  years.  We  return 
to  town  and  I  visit  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  insists  on  my 
spending  the  evening  with  Madame  de  Boursac,  which  I 
agree  to.  A  good  deal  of  chit-chat,  and  after  supper  M. 
de  Boursac  comes  in,  and  then  M.  d'Espanchall,  whose 
lady  is  also  there,  and  the  conversation  degenerates  into 
politics.  The  women  prattle  a  plenty  of  nonsense  about 
the  election  of  Paris,  which  it  seems  is  to  be  disputed,  and 
thereby  put  their  two  husbands  out  of  patience." 

The  promised  visit  to  her  Royal  Highness,  the  Duchess 
of  Orleans,  was  accomplished  on  Saturday,  May  23d.  "At 
ii  o'clock,"  he  says,  "with  Madame  de  Chastellux  I  go  to 
her  apartments.  She  is  at  breakfast,  the  Vicomte  de  Se- 
gur  sitting  next  to  her.  If  I  guess  right  his  attentions  are 
more  agreeable  to  her  than  she  is  aware  of.  His  inquisi 
tive  eye  asks  how  I  am  with  Madame  de  Chastellux,  to 
which  I  answer  by  a  firmness  of  insipid  countenance  per 
fectly  in  harmony  with  the  fact  that  I  have  never  yet  har 
bored  an  idea  respecting  her  which  would  derogate  from 
a  vestal,  and  this  not  from  virtue  entirely  but  very  much 
from  indifference,  and  yet  she  is  young  and  handsome  and 
sensible.  What  is  the  reason  of  this?  The  Duchess  also, 
by  an  insinuating  glance,  seems  to  say,  '  I  find  you  are  vast 
ly  attentive  there  and  I  am  glad  of  it.'  She  is  vastly  mis 
taken  and  I  am  glad  of  that.  Her  younger  son  comes  in, 

M.  de  Beaujolais,  a  fine,  sprightly  boy.     Madame  de , 

one  of  her  women,  enters  limping.  She  had  something  on 
the  toe  which  she  has  been  extracting  and  has  cut  to  the 
quick.  I  tell  her,  '  Madame,  quand  on  est  touche  au  vif 
on  s'en  repent  longtemps.'  An  old  devout  lady  who  is 
present,  taking  the  thing  with  great  simplicity  in  the  lit 
eral  sense,  adds,  in  the  true  matron  tone,  '  et  surtout  au 
pied.'  There  is  a  conserve  on  table  which  the  Duchess 
offers,  but  I  decline,  as  not  liking  4les  choses  sucrees.'  " 


There  was  keen  enjoyment  to  be  got  out  of  a  drive  with 
a  charming,  gay  companion  like  Madame  de  Flahaut, 
"through  the  unfrequented  parts  of  the  Bois  de  Boulogne, 
where  a  number  of  deer  skipping  about  contrast  very 
finely  with  the  belles  and  beaux  who  are  grouped  together 
in  different  parts."  Again,  to  wander,  as  he  says,  "  alone  in 
the  garden  of  Malmaison  before  dinner,  and  dream  of  my 
country  and  converse  with  my  absent  friends,  and  by  soli 
tude  to  bring  my  mind  back  to  its  natural  tone.  Then  in 
the  evening  I  go  to  see  Madame  de  Chastellux  and  write 
for  her  some  lines  that  occurred  to  me  whilst  driving  to 
day,  but  which  I  tell  her  are  not  an  impromptu,  though  I 
might  give  them  the  air  of  one.  She  thinks,  or  at  least 
says  she  thinks,  them  very  handsome.  I  agree  very  hon 
estly  that  they  are  well  turned  and  musical,  but  I  cannot 
agree  that  they  have  so  much  merit  as  she  seems  to  allow. 

"  If  Beauty  so  sweet  in  all  gentleness  drest, 

In  loveliness,  virtue,  arrayed ; 
By  the  graces  adorned,  by  the  muses  carest, 
By  lofty  ambition  obeyed  ; 

"Ah!  who  shall  escape  from  the  gold-painted  dart 

When  Orleans  touches  the  bow  ? 
Who  the  softness  resist  of  that  sensible  heart 
Where  love  and  benevolence  glow  ? 

"Thus  we  dream  of  the  Gods,  who  with  bounty  supreme 

Our  humble  petitions  accord. 
Our  love  they  excite,  and  command  our  esteem, 
Tho'  only  at  distance  adored." 

"A  few  days  later,"  he  says,  "when  I  call  at  the  Palais 
Royal  to  say  good-bye  to  Madame  de  Chastellux,  who  is 
going  to  Raincy  for  the  summer,  she  tells  me  she  gave 
my  verses  to  the  Duchess,  who  was  much  pleased  ;  found 
them  very  handsome,  but  not  just.  She  does  not  merit, 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  89 

etc.  In  reply,  I  beg  her  Royal  Highness  to  be  informed 
that  she  has  at  least  the  security  that  they  were  not  a  pre 
meditated  compliment  but  the  result  of  my  reflections 
during  a  solitary  ride,  and  that  I  shall  not  think  so  well  of 
her  as  I  have  done  if  she  is  not  convinced  of  the  justice  of 
my  verses,  which  in  my  opinion  forms  their  principal,  if 
not  their  only  merit,  for  she  must  know  better  than  any 
other  person  whether  she  merits  the  good  opinion  there 

"  A  day  in  the  country  [May  24th].  Very  warm  weather 
and  dusty.  A  large  company  at  Lucennes.  Among  them 
M.  Delville,  who  speaks  of  the  bad  quality  of  the  tobacco 
sent  to  him  by  Mr.  [Robert]  Morris.  I  explain  to  him 
the  nature  of  the  inspection  laws,  etc.,  and  I  tell  him  that 
I  do  not  complain  of  the  conduct  of  the  farm,  which  has 
been  candid  and  generous,  but  that  the  Committee  of 
Berni  has  occasioned  all  the  mischief.  In  the  evening  I 
drive  to  Malmaison.  Madame  Dumolley  is  very  civil,  but 
I  must  go  to  see  her,  I  find,  only  sur  les  jours  de fete,  Qu.  : 
Is  that  because  she  has  not  at  other  times  a  dinner  she 
would  wish  to  exhibit,  or  wishes  not,  at  other  times,  to  be 
broken  in  upon,  or  wishes  to  save  the  risk  of  a  visit  when 
she  is  not  at  home  ?  The  last  is  the  reason  assigned,  but 
the  second  is  that  which  I  believe  iru  At  a  little  before  ten 
I  set  off  for  Paris ;  and  my  coachman,  being  asleep,  I  am 
nearly  overset  in  one  of  the  ditches.  After  several  efforts 
to  make  him  awaken,  he  still  continuing  to  drive  wild,  I 
stop  him  and  ask  if  he  is  drunk.  Tell  him  if  he  is,  then  to 
get  down  from  the  box  and  let  my  servant  drive  ;  but,  if  he 
is  sober,  then  to  go  on  and  to  pay  more  attention,  for  that 
if  he  oversets  the  carriage  I  will  instantly  run  him  through 
the  body.  This  has  the  desired  effect,  and  brings  him  to 
the  use  of  his  senses.  How  idle  to  suppose  that  man  is  a 
reasonable  creature.  If'  he  had  run  into  the  ditch,  which 


is  dry,  and  about  six  foot  perpendicular,  it  is  a  thousand 
to  one  that  I  should  have  been  in  a  condition  not  to  act, 
and  he  not  to  suffer,  but  this  is  a  danger  to  which  by  habit 
he  is  familiarized.  The  other  by  its  novelty  makes  im 
pression,  and  he  does  not  consider,  at  least  until  he  is 
fairly  awake,  that  I  have  no  weapon  but  my  cane  to  exe 
cute  the  threat." 

Morris's  clear  views  on  general  subjects,  and  his  par 
ticular  knowledge  of  the  politics  of  Europe  as  well  as  of 
France,  had  already  won  for  him  a  reputation  which  was 
not  always  to  him  a  wholly  agreeable  one,  for  his  time  was 
valuable,  and  yet  the  interruptions  to  it,  springing  from 
his  popularity,  were  incessant.  "To-day"  [May  2yth], 
he  says,  "  I  am  disturbed  immediately  after  breakfast  by 
General  Sir  How  Whitford-Dalrymple  and  a  Mr.  Davis. 
They  stay  a  long  time,  and  enter  with  much  solicitude  into 
politics.  As  far  as  their  symptoms  may  go  they  indicate 
great  attention  of  the  British  Cabinet  to  what  passes  here 
regarding  the  States-General,  etc.  I  tell  them  that  if  the 
King  of  Prussia  were  worth  a  farthing,  the  English  might 
on  the  death  of  the  Emperor  play  a  very  good  game  ;  viz., 
upon  the  election  of  the  Archduke,  put  up  the  Electors 
of  Bavaria  and,  giving  Saxony  to  Prussia,  take  for  the  Stad- 
holder  the  Austrian  Netherlands,  which  with  some  of  the 
little  Bishoprics  in  the  neighborhood  would  form  a  re 
spectable  monarchy,  and  by  this  means  Britain  would 
form  for  herself  an  extensive  barrier,  including  Hanover, 
and  would  hem  in  her  enemy  on  every  side  almost. 
Whereas  if  France  establishes  a  free  government,  she  may 
easily  exchange  with  the  house  of  Austria  for  something 
to  be  acquired  elsewhere,  or  for  money,  the  right  to  Flan 
ders — and  then,  annexing  both  Flanders  and  Holland,  she 
will  become  indisputably  mistress  of  the  fate  of  Europe  ; 
that  Holland  (that  is,  the  United  Netherlands)  is  now  in  a 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  91 

position  that  cannot  endure,  and  her  fate  depends  on  the 
measure  of  the  moment  ;  that  if  France  disposes  herself  to 
act,  the  first  step  will  be  to  secure  an  alliance  with  us  at 
any  rate,  because  on  our  European  ally  will  depend  the 
fate  of  the  West  Indies,  etc.  We  shall  see  at  a  future  day 
what  will  be  the  effect  of  such  suggestions.  Go  to  dine 
with  Madame  Faucault,  the  daughter  of  my  old  friend 
James  Leray  de  Chaumont.  She  is  at  her  toilette  and  is, 
I  am  told,  a  woman  of  gallantry.  Dine  and  chatter  poli 
tics.  Madame  Leray  de  Chaumont*  talks  to  me  very 
sensibly,  considering  that  she  is  said  to  be  crazy.  After 
dinner  I  walk  in  the  Champs  Elysees,  and  meet  M.  de 
Durfort,  who  tells  me  the  number  of  troops  in  the  neigh 
borhood  of  Paris  is  to  prevent  tumult  if  the  States-General 
are  dissolved  ;  laugh  at  this  idea,  which  shows  only  the 
wishes  of  himself  and  his  friends.  After  leaving  him  I 
call  on  Madame  de  la  Suze.  She  is  just  going  to  dress, 
but  that  is  nothing.  *  M.  Morris  me  permettra  de  faire 
ma  toilette?'  'Certainly.'  So  we  have  the  whole  perform 
ance  of  undressing  and  dressing  except  the  shift.  Finish 
the  evening  in  the  salon  of  Madame  de  Flahaut,  where 
I  meet  Madame  de  Boursac,  who  tells  me  that  I  am  in 
scribed  a  member  of  the  Club  de  Valois  on  the  nomina 
tion  of  M.  de  Boursac." 

With  unabated  energy  Morris  continued  his  efforts  to 

*  Madame  Leray  de  Chaumont  was  Miss  Grace  Coxe  of  Philadelphia.  M. 
Leray  de  Chaumont  met  her  while  he  was  in  America  after  the  peace.  She 
is  reported  to  have  fallen  in  love  with  the  Frenchman,  and  declared  that  if 
he  refused  to  marry  her  it  would  break  her  heart.  He  thereupon  told  her 
tnat  his  attentions  to  her  were  marked  by  no  more  fervor  than  were  those  he 
paid  to  others  of  her  sex,  but  that  if  she  felt  so  strongly  on  the  subject,  he 
would  write  to  his  parents  for  permission  to  marry  her.  Morris  escorted 
her  back  to  America  in  1798,  and  the  subsquent  history  of  her  peculiarities 
would  be  amusing  if  it  were  not  that  she  subjected  her  children,  and  Mor 
ris,  who  was  by  their  father,  during  his  absence  in  France,  appointed  guar 
dian,  to  ceaseless  annoyances. 


bring  about  an  accommodation  with  the  farmers-gen 
eral  and  Robert  Morris  in  the  affair  of  the  tobacco.  But 
the  dreaded  suit  became  inevitable,  and,  in  order  to  urge 
it  forward,  he  was  advised  to  visit  his  judges.  This  he 
accordingly  did,  and  in  the  course  of  the  day  obtained 
assurances  from  the  grocer,  that  the  court  was  "  impartial, 
and  alike  uninfluenced  by  farmers  and  grand  seigneurs, 
that  he  would  do  everything  in  his  power  for  the  cause, 
etc.  ; "  from  the  vender  of  skins,  who  was  so  surprised  by 
a  chariot  stopping  at  his  door  "and  a  servant  in  livery  in 
quiring  for  him,  without  anything  of  the  humble  suitor 
in  his  countenance,"  that  his  "  honor  was  brought  into 
the  street "  by  the  unusual  proceeding,  a  promise  to 
do  everything  in  his  power  ;  and  from  the  amiable  M. 
Levi,  the  vintner,  a  promise  to  mention  the  matter  to 
his  brethren  at  the  earliest  opportunity,  with  many  assu 
rances  that  "  he  believes  my  suit  to  be  good,  and  that  they 
desire  to  give  the  best  reception  to  strangers,  etc.;  that  of 
course  a  winter  passage  of  a  thousand  leagues  is  not  un 
dertaken  on  light  ground  by  a  man  of  common  under 
standing,  etc.  I  of  course  assure  him  that  there  is  doubt 
less  every  reason  for  confiding  in  the  justice  of  the  French, 
yet  a  stranger  opposed  to  a  powerful  company  is  at  a  dis 
advantage."  After  interviews  with  the  bookseller,  the 
woollen  draper,  the  goldsmith,  and  the  furrier,  Morris 
says  he  was  quite  overcome  by  the  ludicrous  side  of  the 
picture,  "  which  is  so  strongly  painted  to  my  own  eyes 
that  I  cannot  forbear  laughing  at  myself,  and  having  at 
length  brought  this  disagreeable  scene  to  an  end,  as  a 
means  of  refreshment  I  utilize  a  ticket  which  I  have  for 
the  Pare  Monceau,  where  I  walk  a  considerable  time.  It 
has  merit,  and  has  cost  at  least  as  much  as  it  deserves. 
The  gardener,  an  Englishman,  and  believing  me  to  be  one, 
is  so  kind  as  to  direct  a  sentinel  to  find  me  out,  and  then 

1789]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  93 

comes  himself  and  offers  to  show  me  the  hot-house,  etc. 
This  is  vastly  polite  and,  indeed,  kind,  but  perhaps  the 
expectation  of  a  little  French  coin  from  an  English  pocket 
may  have  had  some  influence.  As  this,  however,  would 
be  an  ungenerous  suspicion,  I  leave  him  the  full  gratifica 
tion  of  the  patriotic  sentiment,  lavish  a  profusion  of  com 
pliments,  but  not  a  single  sou.  After  a  very  magnificent 
supper  and  a  game  of  whist  at  the  house  of  M.  Bontin,  I 
propose  to  him  the  supplying  of  the  marine  with  provi 
sions,  and  offer  him  a  concern.  He  objects  his  office,  to 
which  I  reply  that  he  need  not  appear  in  it,  but  that,  be 
sides,  it  is  a  most  honorable  and  praiseworthy  pursuit  to 
obtain  supplies  for  the  Crown  upon  easier  terms,  and 
thereby  to  cement  more  strongly  an  alliance  of  infinite 
consequence  to  France.  We  are  to  talk  further  on  this 

The  promised  visit  was  paid  to  M.  de  Montmorin  at 
Versailles  on  Friday,  the  2pth  of  May.  "  His  porter  in  a 
surly  tone  tells  me  I  am  come  too  late,  just  when  the  Count 
is  going  to  dinner,  to  which  I  reply  by  desiring  he  will 
tell  his  master  I  wish  to  speak  to  him.  Stay  in  the  ante 
chamber  pretty  late.  At  length  dinner  is  announced,  and 
I  deliver  the  letter  which  I  have  kept  so  long,  with  an 
apology,  which  is  well  received.  Go  up  to  dinner.  Com 
mon  States-General  chit-chat.  The  dinner  lasts  long, 
as  we  wait  for  a  gentleman  who  is  in  session  of  the  no 
blesse.  On  quitting  the  Count  he  very  kindly  regrets  that 
he  sees  so  little  of  me  this  day,  which  compliment  might 
have  been  spared,  as  it  depended  on  him  to  have  had  more 
particular  conversation.  He  desires  a  repetition  of  my 
visit,  and  that  I  would  consider  his  house  as  my  home 
whenever  I  am  there." 

"  This  morning  [May  3oth],  being  rather  broken  to  pieces 
by  business  interruptions,  I  applied  the  fragments  of  the 


day  to  seeing  curiosities  with  Madame  de  Flahaut  as  my 
companion.  First  the  Gobelins,  which,  after  all  that 
has  been  said  in  their  favor,  are  an  idle  kind  of  art,  be 
cause  they  produce  pieces  which  are  more  costly  and  less 
beautiful  than  paintings,  and  though  in  one  sense  they 
last  long,  yet  in  another  they  do  not,  because  the  colors 
fade.  For  the  rest,  it  is  a  wonderful  operation.  From  the 
Gobelins,  in  the  gallery  of  which  are  some  excellent  paint 
ings,  we  go  to  the  King's  botanical  gardens.  Having  no 
knowledge  of  botany  except  to  distinguish  onions  and 
cabbages  from  oak  trees,  I  can  pretend  to  no  judgment  of 
this  garden,  which  is,  I  daresay,  excellent.  It  is  in  some 
respects  handsome,  and,  taking  the  whole  together,  plants, 
buildings,  etc.,  must  have  cost  a  great  deal.  Our  exami 
nation  is  very  cursory.  From  thence  we  go  to  Notre 
Dame.  The  altar  piece  is  exquisite,  as  are  several  of  the 
paintings.  This  reverend  Gothic  building  is  well  worth 
examination.  Dine  with  the  Marechal  de  Castries  and 
explain  to  him  the  affair  of  the  claim  set  up  against  the 
farm,  and  I  am  to  make  a  note  out  and  give  it  to  him.  I 
tell  him  that  a  man  of  sense,  decision,  and  firmness  is 
necessary  to  the  King  in  the  present  moment  to  extricate 
him  from  the  difficulties  in  which  they  are  plunged. 
Also  make  some  rough  sketches  of  the  means.  After 
dinner  I  call  on  Mr.  Jefferson  and  sit  a  good  while. 
General  conversation  on  character,  politics,  etc.  I  think 
he  does  not  form  very  just  estimates  of  character  but 
rather  assigns  too  many  to  the  humble  rank  of  fools, 
whereas  in  life  the  gradations  are  infinite  and  each  indi 
vidual  has  his  peculiarities  of  fort  and  feeble.  Go  to 
Madame  de  Flahaut's,  spend  the  evening,  and  talk  a  good 
deal  of  loose,  light  nonsense." 

"On  my  way  to  Malmaison  to-day  [May  3ist],  passing 
along  the  Champs  Elysees,  I   stop  a  moment  to  speak  to 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  95 

Mr.  Jefferson  and  General  Dalrymple.  They  tell  me  that 
the  Conciliatory  Commission  at  Versailles  have  parted 
without  doing  anything,  notwithstanding  a  very  florid 
harangue  of  M.  Necker.  This  man's  vanity  must  be  ex 
cessive,  to  think  that  he  can  influence  by  his  eloquence, 
and  especially  when  the  esprit  et  intfret  de  corps  are  in 
such  powerful  operation.  At  Malmaison  meet  De  Can- 
teleu  as  I  expected.  I  impart  my  intention  of  submitting 
the  decision  of  the  tobacco  claim  to  M.  Necker  himself, 
which,  under  all  circumstances,  he  thinks  well  of.  He 
thinks  the  indecision  of  character  which  marks  M.  Necker 
will  prevent  him  from  agreeing  to  our  plan  about  the 
American  debt.  Says  the  treasury  is  in  blast  for  June  and 
July  ;  that  M.  Necker  knows  nothing  of  administration, 
is,  in  effect,  ignorant  of  mankind,  etc." 

The  note  on  the  subject  of  the  tobacco  contracts,  and 
a  future  contract  for  the  French  claim  on  America, 
Morris  prepared  on  the  ist  of  June.  "This  is  a  laborious 
task,"  he  says  [June  ist],  "for  me,  as  it  is  in  French.  One 
of  M.  Le  Coulteux's  principal  clerks  comes  to  examine  the 
work  and  see  if  it  is  French.  He  finds  but  little  to  cor 
rect."  The  next  day  the  note  was  presented  to  M.  de 
Castries.  "He  finds  it  very  well.  He  distinguishes  be 
tween  the  debt  for  which  France  is  or  was  guarantee  and 
that  which  arises  from  actual  advances,  and  it  seems  that 
on  the  former  they  would  make  no  abatement.  Evidently 
he  has  conversed  on  this  subject  with  M.  Necker.  He 
will  have  the  note  copied  with  a  small  alteration  and  will 
give  it  to  the  minister.  Thinks  that,  beginning  with  the 
pros  and  proceeding  afterwards  to  the  other  points,  we 
may  finally  have  the  whole  connected  together.  " 

Dining,  June  2d,  with  the  Marechal  de  Segur  at  his 
country-place,  Morris  met  the  Archbishop  of  Bordeaux. 
"  He  is,  they  say,  an  intimate  friend  of  M.  Necker's. 


Converse  with  him  a  little  on  politics,  and  propose  that 
the  King  should  cut  the  knot  which  the  States  cannot 
untie  ;  viz.,  that  he  should  prescribe  to  them  the  future 
constitution  and  leave  them  to  consider  it,  etc.  He  says 
he  thinks  it  must  end  in  some  such  way.  Return  to  town 
and  in  my  way  take  a  view  (from  the  heights)  of  this  vast 
city.  It  covers  an  immense  tract  of  country  indeed. 
Take  a  turn  in  the  Palais  Royal  and  go  to  supper  with 
Madame  de  Flahaut.  Confoundedly  bored  and  find  it  ex 
tremely  difficult  to  keep  myself  awake." 

"  This  afternoon  [June  3d]  I  go  to  see  Mr.  Jefferson. 
We  have  some  political  conversation.  He  seems  to  be  out 
of  hope  of  anything  being  done  to  purpose  by  the  States- 
General.  This  comes  of  having  too  sanguine  expectations 
of  a  downright  republican  form  of  Government.  The 
literary  people  here,  observing  the  abuses  of  a  monarch 
ical  form,  imagine  that  everything  must  go  better  in  pro 
portion  as  it  recedes  from  the  present  establishments,  and 
in  their  closets  they  make  men  exactly  suited  to  their  sys 
tems.  But  unluckily  they  are  such  as  exist  nowhere  else, 
least  of  all  in  France.  I  am  more  than  ever  persuaded 
that  the  form  which  at  first  appeared  to  me  most  fit  for 
them  is  that  which  will  be  adopted,  not  exactly  according 
to  my  idea,  but  probably  in  some  better  manner.  After 
refreshing  myself  with  a  cup  of  tea  at  the  cafe  in  the 
Palais  Royal,  I  go  to  the  Club  Valois,  of  which  I  have 
been  chosen  a  member.  There  is  nothing  remarkable 
here.  Call  on  Madame  de  Flahaut,  where  I  am  engaged 
to  sup.  Find  her  with  her  feet  in  hot  water,  sick,  and  has 
had  an  ague  and  fever,  and  her  head  is  very  heavy.  She 
desires  me  to  prescribe  for  her.  I  recommend  a  grain 
and  a  half  of  tartar  emetic — and  after  that  bark  is  to  be 

"  To-day  [June  4th]  the  news  of  the  Dauphin's  death  was 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  97 

announced,  and  Mr.  Short  tells  us  that  the  States-General 
are  more  embroiled  than  ever.  Mr.  Jefferson,  with  whom 
I  take  a  drive,  requests,  on  the  part  of  M.  Houdon,*  that  I 
would  stand  to-morrow  for  the  figure  of  General  Washing 
ton,  to  which  I  consent." 

Houdon  was  working  at  this  time  on  the  statue  of  Wash 
ington  which  now  adorns  the  City  Hall  at  Richmond,  Vir 
ginia,  but  there  'seems  to  have  been  no  particular  reason, 
other  than  that  of  friendship  and  the  fact  of  his  being 
a  countryman  of  Washington's,  that  Morris  should  have 
been  called  upon  to  make  a  vicarious  victim  of  himself. 
The  fact  of  his  devoted  friendship  for  Washington,  however, 
was  reason  enough  to  obtain  his  consent  to  stand  for  the 
statue,  "although,"  as  he  says,  "it,  being  the  humble  em 
ployment  of  a  manikin,  was  rather  irksome.  This  is 
literally  taking  the  advice  of  St.  Paul  to  be  all  things 
to  all  men.  Promise  M.  Houdon  to  attend  next  Tues 
day  morning  at  half-past  eight  to  have  my  bust  taken, 
which  he  desires,  to  please  himself,  for  this  is  the  answer 
to  rny  question  what  he  wants  with  my  bust — a  question 
dictated  with  a  view  to  obviate  any  future  demand  of  pay 
ment  on  my  part.  Later  in  the  afternoon  I  go  to  the 
Palais  Royal,  and  pay  a  visit  of  respectful  inquiry  to  Ma 
dame  de  Flahaut.  She  is  better.  From  there  go  to  the 
Club  Valois.  The  Tiers  have  agreed  to  proceed  to  the 
verification  of  the  powers,  *  par  ordre  sauf  a  considerer 
par  des  commissaires  les  doutes  qui — .'  This  is  '  une  petite 
victoire  remportee  par  la  noblesse,  qui  s'en  glorifie  beau- 
coup.'  From  the  club  go  to  supper  at  the  Baron  de  Be- 

*  Jean  Antoine  Houdon,  a  French  sculptor,  was  born  at  Versailles  in  1741. 
About  the  year  1785  Dr.  Franklin  gave  him  a  commission  to  execute  the 
marble  statue  of  Washington  which  is  now  in  the  State  House  at  Richmond, 
Virginia.  He  came  to  Philadelphia  to  obtain  the  model  of  this  work.  His 
reputation  was  increased  later  in  life  by  his  statues  of  Voltaire  and  Cicero, 
and  his  busts  of  Rousseau,  Franklin,  Napoleon,  and  Ney.  He  died  in  1825. 



senval's  ;  nothing  worth  notice,  except  that  in  the  salon  we 
have  a  fire,  which  seems  disagreeable  to  nobody." 

"The  States-General  seem  to  approach  a  little  more 
toward  accommodation,  I  hear  to-night  [June  6th],  in  Ma 
dame  de  Flahaut's  salon,  from  1'Eveque  d'Autun,  who  is  one 
of  our  company  and  an  intimate  friend  of  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut.  He  appears  to  be  a  sly,  cunning,  ambitious,  and 
malicious  man.  I  know  not  why  conclusions  so  disadvan 
tageous  to  him  are  formed  in  my  mind,  but  so  it  is,  and  I 
cannot  help  it." 

"  At  three  o'clock  [June  loth]  I  set  off  for  Versailles  and 
visit  some  of  my  friends — among  them  Mesdames  d'An- 
givilliers  and  Tesse.  The  former  is  as  angry  about  the 
presumption  of  the  Tiers  as  the  latter  was  at  the  intem 
perance  of  the  nobles  ;  both  are  equally  right  and  wrong. 
See  here  two  sisters,  who  show  by  their  gentle  glances 
that  they  like  to  have  tender  things  said,  at  least. .  I  don't 
know  them.  Call  on  Madame  de  Flahaut,  but  find  her  too 
unwell  to  go  abroad  this  evening.  A  good  deal  of  chit 
chat  with  her.  She  tells  me  that  I  suit  the  taste  of  this 
country,  etc.,  which  is  a  vast  compliment  to  a  stranger — I 
really  apprehend  much  more  than  I  deserve." 

The  expressions  of  regard  and  friendship  made  by  the 
Duchess  of  Orleans  for  Morris  were  not  wholly  fafon 
de  parler,  and  Thursday,  June  nth,  was  the  day  appoint 
ed  for  him  to  visit  her  Royal  Highness  at  Raincy,  where 
he  arrived  at  eleven  o'clock.  "Nobody  yet  visible,"  he 
says,  "and  after  some  time  the  Duchess  appears  and  tells 
me  she  has  given  Madame  de  Chastellux  notice  of  my  ar 
rival.  This  consists  with  my  primitive  idea.  Near  12 
before  the  breakfast  is  paraded,  but  as  I  had  eaten  mine 
before  my  departure  this  is  no  present  inconvenience. 
After  breakfast  we  go  to  mass  in  the  chapel.  In  the  trib 
une  above  we  have  a  bishop,  an  abbe,  the  Duchess,  her 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  99 

maids,  and  some  of  their  friends.  Madame  de  Chastellux 
is  below  on  her  knees.  We  are  amused  above  by  a  num 
ber  of  little  tricks  played  off  by  M.  de  Segur  and  M.  de 
Cubieres*  with  a  candle,  which  is  put  into  the  pockets 
of  different  gentlemen,  the  Bishop  among  the  rest,  and 
lighted  while  they  are  otherwise  engaged  (for  there  is  a 
fire  in  the  tribune),  to  the  great  merriment  of  the  spec 
tators.  Immoderate  laughter  is  the  consequence.  The 
Duchess  preserves  as  much  gravity  as  she  can.  This  scene 
must  be  very  edifying  to  the  domestics  who  are  opposite 
to  us,  and  to  the  villagers  who  worship  below.  After  this 
ceremony  is  concluded  we  commence  our  walk,  which  is 
long  and  excessively  hot.  Then  we  get  in  bateaux,  and 
the  gentlemen  row  the  ladies,  which  is  by  no  means  a  cool 
operation.  After  that  more  walking,  so  that  I  am  exces 
sively  inflamed,  even  to  fever-heat.  Get  to  the  Chateau 
and  doze  for  a  little,  en  attendant  le  diner,  which  does  not 
come  till  after  five.  A  number  of  persons  surround  the 
windows,  and  doubtless  form  a  high  idea  of  the  company, 
to  whom  they  are  obliged  to  look  up  at  an  awful  distance. 
Ah,  did  they  but  know  how  trivial  the  conversation,  how 
very  trivial  the  characters,  their  respect  would  soon  be 
changed  to  an  emotion  extremely  different.  Madame  de 
St.  Simon  is  the  subject  of  an  epitaph  by  the  Vicomte  de 
Segur,  the  purport  of  which  is  that  she  is  lewd,  and  that 
idea  is  tres  fortement  prononce.  She  attacks  him  in  a  se 
rious  discourse  on  the  folly  of  his  pursuits,  which,  having 
only  vanity  for  a  motive,  tend  to  inspire  a  passion  where 
none  has  hitherto  been  felt,  and  merely  because  of  that. 
He  defends  himself  by  observing  that  a  thing  of  that  sort 
cannot  affect  his  vanity,  because  the  pursuit  of  a  woman 

*The  Marquis  Simon  Louis  Pierre  de  Cubieres  was  attached  to  the  person 
of  the  king  as  equerry  and  served  him  faithfully  at  the  risk  of  his  own  life  in 
the  Revolution. 


is  like  a  game  of  chess,  when  in  consequence  of  a  certain 
set  of  moves  the  success  is  certain.  She  agrees  in  this 
idea,  and  thence  draws  more  certainly  her  conclusions 
that  such  pursuits  are  ridiculous.  I  think  I  understand 
this  conversation  in  its  full  latitude,  for  my  own  observa 
tion  had  already  pointed  at  the  object,  not  named  but,  if  I 
mistake  not,  clearly  understood.  After  dinner  the  weath 
er,  which  had  been  hot,  becomes  cold,  and  the  fire  is  by  no 
means  disagreeable.  More  walking,  but  I  refuse  to  par 
take  of  it,  being  fairly  winged,  to  use  the  sportsman's 
phrase.  A  little  before  8  set  off  for  town,  having  the  com 
pany  of  Madame  de  Chastellux's  nurse  and  child.  The 
request  to  take  them  would  have  looked  odd  in  America, 
but  I  conclude  that  it  is  quite  in  the  order  of  things  here, 
and  readily  comply,  but  indeed  for  a  better  reason.  I  am 
glad  in  this  kind  of  way  to  repay  attentions  which  my 
heart  will  not  let  me  meet  in  any  other." 

"This  morning  [June  i2th]  Mr.  Jefferson,  just  from  Ver 
sailles,  tells  me  that  the  Tiers  had  called  on  the  noblesse 
and  clergy  to  join  them  and  proceed  to  business,  which 
has  thrown  the  former  into  a  rage.  He  considers  the 
affairs  of  this  country  as  being  in  a  very  critical  situation. 
They  are  so,  but  the  royal  authority  has  great  weight,  and, 
if  brought  in  to  the  aid  of  the  privileged  orders,  may  yet 
prevent  their  destruction.  However,  he  and  I  differ  in 
our  system  of  politics.  He,  with  all  the  leaders  of  liberty 
here,  is  desirous  of  annihilating  distinctions  of  order. 
How  far  such  views  may  be  right  respecting  mankind  in 
general  is,  I  think,  extremely  problematical,  but  with  re 
spect  to  this  nation  I  am  sure  it  is  wrong  and  cannot 
eventuate  well." 

"To-day  [June  ipth],  I  call  on  Madame  de  la  Suze. 
She  is  embroidering  with  the  tambour  needle.  Is  quite 
out  of  temper  with  the  politics  of  the  times,  but  is  deter- 


mined  to  be  of  the  party  which  will  furnish  money,  be 
that  which  it  may,  because  the  husbands  of  herself  and  her 
sisters  'ont  beaucoup  sur  le  Roi.'  Voila  les  opinions  poli- 
tiques  qui  sont  bien  motivees.  From  thence  go  to  the  club, 
and  read  the  papers.  The  clergy  have  this  day  by  a  small 
majority  determined  to  join  the  Tiers.  This  stroke  is  fa 
tal  to  the  noblesse,  for  the  Tiers  having  already  consti 
tuted  themselves  the  National  Assembly  as  representing 
96  percent,  of  the  nation,  they  will  now  have  the  claim  to 
be  a  majority  of  orders  as  well  as  heads.  Unless  the 
royal  authority  be  interposed  to  save  the  nobles,  they  are 
gone,  and  of  this  there  seems  to  be  but  slender  probability. 
From  the  club  go  to  Madame  d'Espanchall's  (an  invita 
tion  which  I  would  gladly  have  evaded)  to  supper.  I  am 
assailed  for  the  copy  of  an  extempore  epitaph  written  at 
Raincy  on  the  Vicomte  de  Segur,  which  is  wretchedly  bad. 
I  evade  the  request  till  after  supper,  when  I  am  again  so 
licited  by  Madame  de  Boursac  to  repeat  it,  and  Madame 
de  Warsi,  who  is  a  very  beautiful  and  accomplished  woman, 
entreats  me  to  write  it,  because  she  understands  English 
only  by  the  eye — having  learnt  to  read,  not  to  speak  it. 
Having  her  promise  to  return  the  scrap  of  paper,  I  write 
for  her  the  wretched  lines  in  question,  which  had  the  sin 
gle  merit  at  the  moment  of  having  been  written  sur-le- 
champ  as  a  petite  vengeance  for  Madame  de  St.  Simon,  on 
whom  he  had  written  an  epitaph  at  breakfast  not  too 

Here  lies  a  merry,  wicked  wight, 
Who  spent  in  mischief  all  his  life, 
And,  lest  the  world  should  do  him  right, 
Determined  not  to  take  a  wife. 

The  applause  it  met  with  arose  from  the  pleasure  man 
kind  always  feel  at  seeing  a  tyrant  galled.  Madame  de 


Warsi  begs  leave  to  keep  them,  which  I  refuse.  She  says 
she  remembers  them,  and,  to  convince  me,  sets  about  writ 
ing  them  from  memory,  and  convinces  both  herself  and 
me  that  she  cannot.  I  then  take  the  pencil  and  write  for 

To  one  like  you,  divinely  fair, 

On  nothing  but  yourself  I'll  write, 
Nor  will  I  own  another  care, 

Than  what  may  give  to  you  delight ; 
If  that  delight  I  might  convey, 

At  every  gentle,  kind  caress, 
I'd  own  the  force  of  beauty's  sway, 

And  you  what  blessing  'tis  to  bless. 

M.  de  Boursac  tells  me  (which  is  the  aristocratic  conso 
lation)  that  the  King  has  called  a  council  on  the  present 
state  of  affairs,  in  which  each  is  to  deliver  his  opinion  in 
His  Majesty's  presence.  I  do  not  believe  that  this  will 
produce  any  effect  whatever  :  for  the  decision  this  day  will 
awe  those  who  two  days  ago  were  loud  against  M.  Necker, 
and  probably  those  who  called,  or  prompted  the  call  of 
this  council,  will  find  the  event  to  be  in  direct  reverse  of 
their  wishes  and  expectations." 

It  was  on  the  iyth  of  June  that  the  Commons,  after  a 
long  and  ominously  patient  waiting  for  the  other  two  or 
ders  to  unite  with  them,  decided  "  to  begin  the  work  of 
national  regeneration,"  and  declared  themselves  the  Na 
tional  Assembly  of  France.  Three  days  after,  when  about 
to  assemble  to  begin  their  great  work,  Morris  speaks  in 
the  diary  of  the  fact  "that  the  different  corps  of  the  States- 
General  were  prevented  from  meeting,  the  chamber  being 
surrounded  with  guards.  The  reason  assigned,"  he  con 
tinues,  "is  that  the  King  intends  to  have  a  Seance  Royale 
on  Monday,  and  that  some  alterations  are  necessary  to  the 
salon.  After  driving  and  walking  a  while,  go  to  the  club. 


Meet  the  Comte  de  Croix,  Due  de  la  Rochefoucault,*  Vi- 
comte  de  Noailles,f  Segur,  young  Dillon,  and  sundry 
others.  Various  conjectures  about  the  object  of  the  Se 
ance  Royale  to  be  held  on  Monday.  I  believe  that  this 
step  would  not  have  been  taken  if  the  Court  had  foreseen 
the  step  of  the  clergy  yesterday.  They  have  very  inflam 
mable  materials  to  handle,  and  must  take  great  heed. 
The  general  idea  seems  to  be  that  the  seance  is  conse 
quential  upon  what  passed  in  the  Tiers,  when  they  as 
sumed  to  themselves  the  title  of  National  Assembly.  But 
I  conjecture  that,  however  this  incident  may  have  pre 
cipitated  that  event,  it  originates  in  the  idea  of  arranging 
the  different  corps  in  such  a  way  as  that  they  may  act,  in 
stead  of  being  as  at  present  an  useless  horde." 

The  schemes  of  the  court  and  king  were  not  furthered 
by  closing  the  doors  of  the  great  hall  against  these  men — 
determined  upon  a  new  order  of  things.  Several  of  the 
more  courageous  among  them  led  the  others  to  an  old 
tennis-court,  where  they  solemnly  swore  the  great  oath, 
called  the  Jeu  de  Paume,  "not  to  separate  until  a  consti 
tution  for  France  had  been  adopted." 

"At  the  club  this  evening"  [June  2ist],  Morris  says, 
"it  is  said  that  the  Seance  Royale  intended  for  to-morrow 
is  postponed.  At  5  o'clock  on  the  2oth  M.  Necker  wrote 
a  letter  to  the  lieutenant  of  police,  assuring  that  it  is  not 
intended  to  prevent  the  further  session  of  the  States. 
When  there  is  apprehension  on  one  side  and  determina 
tion  on  the  other,  it  is  easy  to  see  how  things  will  eventu- 

*Duc  de  la  Rochefoucault,  a  patriot  and  active  member  of  the  States- 
General  in  1789.  He  favored  the  popular  cause  in  the  Revolution,  but  was 
massacred  at  Gisors  in  1792. 

t  Vicomte  de  Noailles  was  a  deputy  to  the  States-General  in  1789,  and  pro 
posed,  on  the  4th  of  August,  the  suppression  of  feudal  rights  and  other  privi 
leges  of  the  aristocracy.  Soon  after  the  commencement  of  the  Reign  of  Terror 
he  emigrated  to  the  United  States.  In  1804  he  was  killed  in  a  naval  engage 
ment  with  the  English.  He  married  a  sister  of  Madame  de  Lafayette. 


ate.  For  my  part,  I  presume  that  the  Seance  Royale  is 
postponed  that  they  may  come  to  a  new  determination 
consequent  on  the  resolution  of  the  clerge." 

When  the  news  of  the  Jeu  de  Paume  reached  Paris, 
the  Palais  Royal,  says  Arthur  Young,  "  was  in  a  flame  ; 
the  coffee-houses,  pamphlet  shops,  corridors,  and  gardens 
were  crowded — alarm  and  apprehension  sat  in  every  eye  : 
nothing  was  so  glaringly  ridiculous  but  the  mob  swallowed 
it  with  indiscriminating  faith.  It  was,  moreover,  curious 
to  remark  among  people  of  another  description  that  the 
balance  of  opinion  was  clearly  that  the  National  Assembly 
had  gone  too  far — had  been  too  violent — and  had  taken 
steps  the  mass  of  the  people  would  not  support." 

"  Before  starting  for  Versailles  to-day  [June  23d]  I  sec 
the  Duchess  of  Orleans,  who  says  she  wrould  ask  me  to  dine 
if  I  had  not  declared  that  I  was  going  to  Versailles. 
When  I  arrive  at  Versailles  I  call  upon  Madame  de  Tesse, 
who  gives  me  a  cordial  reception,  complaining,  however,  of 
my  politics.  Lord  and  Lady  Camelford,  with  their  daughter, 
come  in.  Mr.  Jefferson  tells  me  that  on  the  strength  of  an 
acquaintance  with  an  acquaintance  of  Madame  de  Tesse's, 
without  being  themselves  known  to  her,  they  had  sent  and 
asked  a  dinner.  This  is  quite  as  free  and  easy  as  the  French 
themselves  can  be.  The  King  has  to-day,  in  his  Seance 
Royale  pleased  the  nobility  and  very  much  displeased  the 
Tiers.  I  find  it  difficult  to  learn  exactly  what  has  passed, 
but  it  seems  to  rne  the  nobility  have  less  cause  for  exulta 
tion  than  they  imagine.  At  dinner  I  sit  next  to  M.  de 
Lafayette,  who  tells  me  I  injure  the  cause,  for  that  my  sen 
timents  are  continually  quoted  against  the  good  party.  I 
seize  this  opportunity  to  tell  him  that  I  am  opposed  to  the 
democracy  from  regard  to  liberty  ;  that  I  see  they  are 
going  headlong  to  destruction,  and  would  fain  stop  them 
if  I  could  ;  that  their  views  respecting  this  nation  are 


totally  inconsistent  with  the  materials  of  which  it  is  com 
posed,  and  that  the  worst  thing  that  could  happen  would 
be  to  grant  their  wishes.  He  tells  me  that  he  is  sensible 
his  party  are  mad,  and  tells  them  so,  but  is  not  the  less  de 
termined  to  die  with  them.  I  tell  him  I  think  it  would  be 
just  as  well  to  bring  them  to  their  senses  and  live  with 
them.  He  says  he  is  determined  to  resign  his  seat,  which 
step  I  approve  of,  because  the  instructions  by  which  he  is 
bound  are  contrary  to  his  conscience.  Before  we  part  I 
take  an  opportunity  to  tell  him  that  if  the  Tiers  are  now 
very  moderate  they  will  probably  succeed,  but  if  violent 
must  inevitably  fail.  From  Madame  de  Tesse  I  go  to  see 
Madame  Montvoisseux,  where  the  party  is  aristocratical — 
delighted  with  the  King.  In  the  course  of  conversation 
they  tell  me  some  anecdotes  which  convince  me  that  the 
King  and  Queen  are  confoundedly  frightened,  and  I  am 
thence  led  to  conjecture  that  the  Court  will  still  recede. 
M.  Necker  yesterday  offered  to  resign,  but  the  King  re 
fused  to  accept  his  resignation.  This  afternoon  he  waits 
on  His  Majesty,  surrounded  by  the  common  people,  who 
attend  him  with  shouts  of  applause — to  the  door  of  the 
chateau.  At  half-past  seven,  when  I  leave  Versailles,  he 
is  still  with  the  King." 

During  the  last  days  of  June,  the  mob,  composed  of 
idlers,  strangers,  the  leaders  of  the  coffee-houses  of  the 
Palais  Royal,  and  disorderly  persons  of  all  kinds,  swarmed 
into  Versailles.  Daily  those  whom  they  called  aristocrats 
were  grossly  insulted.  The  Archbishop  of  Paris  was  hoot 
ed  through  the  streets.  The  king's  secretary  and  the 
Keeper  of  the  Seals  were  insulted  until  they  were  in  fear 
of  their  lives,  and  the  secretary  died  in  consequence  of  the 

In  the  hall  where  the  Assembly  sat,  nominally  with 
closed  doors,  Bailey  says  there  were  always  more  than 


106  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  IV. 

six  hundred  spectators — noisy,  active,  and  disrespectful, 
often  taking  part  in  the  deliberations  by  applause  and 
hisses.  When  the  result  of  the  Seance  Royale  was  known 
in  Paris,  Arthur  Young  says,  "  the  ferment  is  beyond  de 
scription  ;  10,000  people  have  been  all  this  day  in  the  Palais 
Royal.  It  is  plain  to  me,  from  many  conversations  I  have 
been  witness  to,  and  the  constant  meetings,  united  with  the 
inflammatory  publications  that  hourly  appear,  that  nothing 
the  King  or  Court  could  do  would  now  satisfy  the  people." 

By  Thursday,  the  25th,  a  majority  of  the  clergy  and  a 
minority  of  the  noblesse  had  joined  the  Tiers.  "  Going  to 
Versailles  to  visit  the  Due  de  Vauguyon,  on  a  matter  of 
business,"  Morris  writes,  "I  hear  that  the  minority  of 
the  clergy  have  constituted  themselves  into  a  body,  and 
agreed  to  the  King's  propositions.  The  majority  of  the 
noblesse,  who  of  course  continue  to  be  the  body,  have 
(it  is  said)  determined  also  to  accept  the  same  proposi 
tions,  but  with  some  modifications.  The  National  Assem 
bly,  or  whatever  else  they  may  now  choose  to  call  them 
selves,  have  agreed  on  a  deputation  to  the  King.  The 
question  is  whether  His  Majesty  will  receive  it,  because 
thereon  depends  the  ultimate  state  of  the  noblesse." 

The  opposition  of  the  nobles  was  fruitless.  The  flood, 
sweeping  everything  before  it,  brought  them  nearer  and 
nearer  to  the  ranks  of  the  National  Assembly,  and  on 
Saturday,  June  27th,  they  took  their  place  among  them. 
Morris  says  :  "  The  nobles  have  this  day,  agreeably  to  a  re 
quest  of  the  King's,  joined  the  other  two  orders.  So  that 
at  length  the  great  question  is  determined,  and  the  votes 
will  be  par  tete.  It  remains  only  for  them  to  form  a  con 
stitution,  and  as  the  King  is  extremely  timid,  he  will  of 
course  surrender  at  discretion.  The  existence  of  the  mon 
archy  therefore  depends  on  the  moderation  of  the  Assem 
bly.  For  the  rest,  I  think  they  will  soon  establish  their 


credit,  which,  among  other  things,  will  bring  the  exchange 
between  France  and  foreign  nations  to  be  more  favorable. 
If  the  money  of  this  country  is  brought  into  free  circula 
tion,  I  think  it  will  lower  interest  everywhere.  The  sum 
is  immense,  and  its  effects  must  be  commensurate  to  its 
activity  and  mass.  At  present  it  lies  dead  and  is  poorly 
supplied  by  the  paper  Caisse  d'Escompte." 

Since  the  23d  of  June  there  had  been  rioting  and  insub 
ordination  in  the  ranks  of  the  French  guards.  They  de 
clared  their  intention  not  to  act  against  the  National  As 
sembly.  Eleven  of  the  leaders  had  been  confined  in  the 
Abbaye,  and  on  the  3oth  of  June  these  men  sent  a  letter  to 
their  comrades,  asking  assistance.  The  mob  in  the  Palais 
Royal,  on  hearing  this  letter  read  aloud,  took  fire  at 
once  and  started  for  the  prison.  "  I  go,"  says  Morris,  "to 
the  Palais  Royal  to  see  what  is  doing,  and  from  thence 
to  the  club.  Find  that  the  mob  have  broken  the  prison 
and  released  some  soldiers,  who  were  confined  for  their  late 
breaches  of  military  discipline,  consequent  on  their  in 
ebriation  by  those  who  are  debauching  them  from  their 
duty.  This  makes,  as  it  ought  to  do,  a  serious  impression. 
Probably  to-morrow  will  produce  similar  and  greater  ex 
cesses.  Mr.  Jefferson  tells  me,  from  the  large  camp  which 
is  forming  under  the  Marechal  de  Broglie,  and  from  the  air 
of  many  who  are  unfriendly  to  the  present  measures  of 
the  Tiers,  and  from  the  influence  of  the  Comte  d'Artois  in 
the  Council,  very  serious  events  are  apprehended,  that 
perhaps  the  King  will  be  prompted  to  attempt  a  resump 
tion  of  his  authority.  All  this  is  very  well,  but,  under  the 
existing  ideas  of  the  moment,  it  is  very  doubtful  whether 
he  could  prevail  on  his  soldiery  to  act,  and  if  not,  his  ful- 
minations  will  become  as  contemptible  as  those  of  the 
Church,  for  in  both  cases  it  is  the  secular  arm  of  flesh 
which  alone  renders  the  anathema  terrible." 


The  following  letter,  written  [July  ist]  to  the  Hon. 
Mr.  Jay,  gives  a  comprehensive  view  of  the  situation  in 
Paris.  Morris  says  :  "  I  am  too  much  occupied  to  find  time 
for  the  use  of  a  cypher — and  in  effect  this  government  is 
so  occupied  with  its  own  affairs,  that  in  transmitting  to 
you  a  letter  under  an  envelope  there  is  no  risk.  This, 
however,  I  am  pretty  certain  will  go  safe.  The  States- 
General  have  now  been  a  long  time  in  session  and  have 
done  nothing.  Hitherto  they  have  been  engaged  in  a  dis 
pute  whether  they  shall  form  one  body  or  three.  The 
commons,  who  are  represented  by  a  body  equal  to  both 
the  others,  and  who  besides  have  at  least  one  half  the 
representatives  of  the  clergy,  insist  on  forming  a  single 
house.  They  have  succeeded,  but  the  nobles  deeply  feel 
their  situation.  The  King,  after  siding  with  them,  was 
frightened  into  an  abandonment  of  them.  He  acts  from 
terror  only.  The  soldiery  in  this  city,  particularly  the 
French  guards,  declare  they  will  not  act  against  the  peo 
ple.  They  are  now  treated  by  the  nobility,  and  parade 
about  the  streets  drunk,  huzzaing  for  the  Tiers.  Some  of 
them  have,  in  consequence,  been  confined — not  by  the 
force,  but  by  the  adroitness  of  authority.  Last  night  this 
circumstance  became  known,  and  immediately  a  mob  re 
paired  to  the  prison.  The  soldiers  on  guard  unfixed  their 
bayonets  and  joined  the  assailants.  A  party  of  dragoons 
ordered  on  duty  to  disperse  the  riot  thought  it  better  to 
drink  with  the  rioters  and  return  back  to  their  quarters. 
The  soldiers,  with  others  confined  in  the  same  prison,  were 
then  paraded  in  triumph  to  the  Palais  Royal,  which  is 
now  the  liberty  pole  of  this  city,  and  there  they  celebrated 
as  usual  their  joy.  Probably  this  evening  some  other 
prisons  will  be  opened,  for  Liberte  is  now  the  general 
cry,  and  Autorite  is  a  name,  not  a  real  existence.  The 
Court  are  about  to  form  a  camp  in  the  neighborhood  of 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  109 

Paris  of  25,000  men,  under  the  command  of  the  Marechal 
de  Broglie.  I  do  not  know  him  personally,  therefore 
cannot  judge  what  may  be  expected  from  his  talents,  but 
all  my  information  goes  to  the  point  that  he  will  never 
bring  his  army  to  act  against  the  people.  The  Garde  clu 
Corps  are  as  warm  adherents  (in  general)  to  the  Tiers  as 
anybody  else,  strange  as  that  may  seem,  so  that  in  effect 
the  sword  has  slipped  out  of  the  monarch's  hands  without 
his  perceiving  a  tittle  of  the  matter.  All  these  things,  in  a 
nation  not  yet  fitted  by  education  and  habit  for  the  enjoy 
ment  of  freedom,  give  me  frequently  suspicions  that  they 
will  greatly  overshoot  their  mark,  if  indeed  they  have  not 
already  done  it.  Already  some  people  talk  of  limiting  the 
King's  negative  upon  the  laws  ;  and  as  they  have  hitherto 
felt  severely  the  authority  exercised  in  the  name  of  their 
Princes,  every  limitation  of  that  authority  seems  to  them 
desirable.  Never  having  felt  the  evils  of  too  weak  an  ex 
ecutive,  the  disorders  to  be  apprehended  from  anarchy 
make  as  yet  no  impression.  The  provincial  assemblies  or 
administrations — in  other  words,  the  popular  executive  of  the 
provinces — which  Turgot  had  imagined  as  a  means  of  mod 
erating  the  royal  legislative  of  the  Court,  is  now  insisted 
on  as  a  counter- security  against  the  monarch,  when  they 
shall  have  established  a  democratical  legislative,  for  you 
will  observe  that  the  noble  and  clerical  orders  are  hence 
forth  to  be  vox  et p renter ea  nihil.  The  King  is  to  be  limited 
to  the  exact  sum  necessary  for  his  personal  expenses. 
The  management  of  the  public  debt  and  revenue  to  pro 
vide  for  it  will  be  taken  entirely  out  of  his  hands,  and  the 
subsistence  of  the  army  is  to  depend  on  temporary  grants. 
Hence  it  must  follow  that  his  negative,  in  whatever  form 
reserved,  will  be  of  little  avail.  These  are  the  outlines  of 
the  proposed  constitution,  by  which,  at  the  same  time,  let- 
tres  de  cachet  are  to  be  abrogated  and  the  liberty  of  the  press 


established.  My  private  opinion  is  that  the  King,  to  get 
fairly  out  of  the  scrape  in  which  he  finds  himself,  would 
subscribe  to  anything,  and  truly  from  him  little  is  to  be  ex 
pected  in  any  way.  The  Queen,  hated,  humbled,  morti 
fied,  feels  and  feigns,  and  intrigues  to  save  some  shattered 
remnants  of  the  royal  authority ;  but  to  know  that  she 
favors  a  measure  is  the  certain  means  to  frustrate  its  suc 
cess.  The  Comte  d'Artois,  alike  hated,  is  equally  busy, 
but  has  neither  sense  to  counsel  himself  nor  choose  coun 
sellors  for  himself — much  less  to  counsel  others.  The 
nobles  look  up  to  him  for  support,  and  lean  on  what  they 
know  to  be  a  broken  reed,  for  want  of  some  more  solid  de 
pendence.  In  their  anguish  they  curse  Necker,  who  is  in 
fact  less  the  cause  than  the  instrument  of  their  sufferings. 
His  popularity  depends  now  more  on  the  opposition  he 
meets  with  from  one  party  than  any  serious  regard  of  the 
other.  It  is  the  attempt  to  throw  him  down  which  saves 
him  from  falling.  He  has  no  longer  the  preponderating 
weight  in  counsel  which  a  fortnight  ago  decided  every 
thing.  If  they  were  not  afraid  of  consequences  he  would 
be  dismissed,  and  on  the  same  principle  the  King  has  re 
fused  to  accept  his  resignation.  If  his  abilities  were  equal 
to  his  genius,  and  he  were  as  much  supported  by  firmness 
as  he  is  swayed  by  ambition,  he  would  have  had  the  ex 
alted  honor  of  giving  a  free  constitution  to  above  twenty 
millions  of  his  fellow-creatures,  and  could  have  reigned 
long  in  their  hearts  and  received  the  unanimous  applause 
of  posterity.  But  as  it  is,  he  must  soon  fall — whether  his 
exit  be  physical  or  moral  must  depend  on  events  which  I 
cannot  foresee.  The  best  chance  which  royalty  has  is  that 
popular  excesses  may  alarm.  At  the  rate  at  which  things 
are  now  going,  the  King  of  France  must  soon  be  one  of 
the  most  limited  monarchs  in  Europe." 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  Ill 


Grain  under  convoy.  Tumult  in  Paris.  Fourth  of  July  dinner.  Visit  to 
Romainville.  Bread  scarce.  Paris  gay.  The  administration  routed 
and  Necker  banished.  M.  de  Narbonne.  Mobs  in  the  streets.  Ar 
morers'  shops  broken  open.  Scenes  in  the  Palais  Royal  Gardens.  Ter 
rible  night  in  Paris.  The  Hotel  de  Force  broken  into.  Morris  dons 
the  green  bow.  No  carriages  allowed  in  the  streets.  Affairs  at  Ver 
sailles.  A  cry  for  arms.  Carriages  stopped  and  searched.  The  Bas 
tille  taken.  Madame  de  Flahaut's  salon.  M.  de  Launay.  Carnival 
at  Versailles.  The  Bastille  in  ruins.  The  King  comes  to  Paris  and 
dons  the  red  and  blue  cockade.  The  procession. 

IN  the  beginning  of  July  of  this  eventful  year  wheat 
was  scarcer  than  ever.  Some  towns  had  none  at  all, 
and  such  grain  as  could  be  bought  was  musty.  But  even 
this  bad  bread  was  the  object  of  envy  to  starving  creat 
ures,  who  robbed  the  fortunate  possessors  of  it  on  the 
high-roads.  "  The  grain  supply  of  Paris  must  be  guarded," 
Morris  says,  "  or  it  would  be  robbed  and  exhausted  before 
reaching  the  town.  While  I  was  out  this  day  I  met  a  con 
voy  of  grain  coming  into  town  under  the  guard  of  a  party 
of  troops.  For  several  weeks,  all  of  the  grain  and  stores 
brought  to  this  town  has  been  escorted  in  like  manner. 
I  hear  of  an  intended  attack  on  the  Hotel  de  Force." 

The  evening  of  July  3d  Morris  spent  with  M.  Le 
Coulteux,  discussing  the  offer  of  the  farm  to  take  a  cer 
tain  amount  of  the  tobacco  about  which  there  was  so  much 
trouble.  "  Cantaleu,  who  is  there,  is  full  of  politics," 
he  says,  "  and  tells  me  I  am  frequently  quoted  by  the  aristo 
crats  as  being  of  their  party.  This  leads  to  an  explanation 
of  my  opinions,  in  which  we  perfectly  agree,  and  he  ap- 

112  DIARY    AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

pears  glad  of  it.  The  conciliatory  point  is  an  abolition 
of  the  parlements,  which  I  think  necessary  to  the  estab 
lishment  of  freedom,  justice,  and  order." 

Surrounded  by  tumult  and  disorder  on  his  own  nation 
al  holiday,  Morris  endeavored  to  find  some  consolation 
in  reminding  himself  of  the  blessings  of  peace,  and  in  a 
letter  to  a  friend  he  spoke  of  the  day  as  '"  demanding  our 
filial  acknowledgments — a  day  now  at  length  auspicious, 
since  by  the  establishment  of  our  new  Constitution  we 
have  the  fair  prospect  of  enjoying  those  good  things  for 
which  we  have  had  so  hard  a  contest."  Mr.  Jefferson 
celebrated  the  day  by  giving  a  dinner  to  the  many  Amer 
icans  in  Paris,  among  whom  were  "  M.  and  Madame 
de  Lafayette.  We  have,"  Morris  says,  "some  political 
conversation  with  him  after  dinner,  in  which  I  urge  him 
to  preserve,  if  possible,  some  constitutional  authority  to 
the  body  of  nobles,  as  the  only  means  of  preserving  any 
liberty  for  the  people.  The  current  is  setting  so  strong 
against  the  noblesse  that  I  apprehend  their  destruction, 
in  which  will,  I  fear,  be  involved  consequences  most  per 
nicious,  though  little  attended  to  in  the  present  moment." 

It  was  a  continuously  cold  and  uncomfortable  season 
which  Morris  encountered  this  year  in  France.  "  Un 
til  this  month,"  he  wrote  in  July  to  Mr.  Carmichael,  "  fire 
has  been  a  companion  not  only  agreeable  but  even  neces 
sary.  So  much  for  that  charming  vernal  season  of  Europe 
which  I  have  often  heard  celebrated  by  many  of  our  coun 
trymen,  whose  principal  merit  lies  in  having  twice  crossed 
the  Atlantic.  .  .  .  You  ask  me  if  Mr.  Jefferson  is  gone 
to  America.  He  is  not,  but  is  ready  to  depart  at  a  moment's 
warning,  having  staid  some  time  expecting  his  conge,  but  is 
still  in  the  same  expectation.  I  conclude  that  it  will  not  be 
expedited  until  the  arrangement  of  the  ministerial  depart 
ments  shall  have  been  completed.  Probably  the  Secretary 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  113 

of  Foreign  Affairs  will  decline  acting  until  appointed  under 
the  new  government.  It  is  probable  also  that  the  ques 
tion  of  the  conge  will  not  be  agitated  till  another  question 
is  determined,  viz.,  who  shall  act  here  in  the  interim  ; 
and  also  I  doubt  not  but  the  secretary,  Mr.  Short,  will  be 
empowered.  You  suppose  that  the  minister  has  intro 
duced  me  to  the  Corps  Diplomatique.  I  hinted  that  mat 
ter  to  him  shortly  after  my  arrival.  He  told  me  they  were 
not  worth  my  acquaintance.  I  have  a  set  which  I  have 
made  myself,  and  these  are  not,  you  will  easily  conceive, 
among  the  worst  company  of  Paris.  As  to  the  ministerial 
dinners,  I  have  not  been  at  them.  It  has  never  been  pro 
posed  to  me.  The  ministers,  you  know,  give  no  invita 
tions  themselves,  and  we  are  bashful.  By  the  bye,  I  some 
time  since  went  and  asked  a  dinner  of  the  Comte  de 
Montmorin,  who  very  kindly  assured  me  at  parting  that  I 
must  in  his  house  consider  myself  perfectly  at  home,  and 
this  you  know  from  him  is  not  an  unmeaning  compli 
ment.  I  am  tout  bete  that  I  have  not  since  profited  by 
these  kind  assurances.  But  what  can  I  do  ?  Versailles  is 
the  most  triste  sejour  on  earth,  and  though  I  am  tempted 
by  the  strong  passion  of  curiosity  to  go  thither  and  attend 
the  debates  of  the  Etats-Generaux,  I  have  not  yet  pre 
vailed  on  myself  to  do  it.  I  believe  no  man  ever  made 
less  use  of  strong  recommendations  to  ministerial  peo 
ple.  Probably  I  am  wrong,  but  I  cannot  help  it.  Apro 
pos,  do  you  know  Lafayette  ?  Should  you  reply  by  ask 
ing  me,  Whence  so  strange  a  question  ?  I  answer,  in  the 
words  of  the  great  Montesquieu,  '  My  object  is  not  to  make 
men  read  but  to  make  them  think.'  There  are  great  in 
trigues  against  the  administration  here,  but  hitherto  with 
out  any  effect.  I  have  steadily  combated  the  violence  and 
excess  of  those  persons  who,  either  inspired  with  an  en 
thusiastic  love  of  freedom,  or  prompted  by  sinister  designs, 

114  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

are  disposed  to  drive  everything  to  extremity.  Our 
American  example  has  done  them  good,  but,  like  all  nov 
elties,  Liberty  runs  away  with  their  discretion,  if  they  have 
any.  They  want  an  American  constitution,  with  the  ex 
ception  of  a  king  instead  of  a  president,  without  reflect 
ing  that  they  have  not  American  citizens  to  support  that 
constitution.  Mankind  see  distant  things  in  a  false  point 
of  light,  and  judge  either  more  or  less  favorably  than  they 
ought — this  is  an  old  observation  ;  another  as  old,  perhaps, 
but  which  all  are  not  in  the  position  to  feel,  is,  that  we  try 
everything  by  the  standard  of  preconceived  notions,  so  that 
there  is  an  impossibility  almost  of  knowing  by  description 
a  distant  people  or  country.  Whoever,  therefore,  desires 
to  apply  in  the  practical  science  of  government  those  rules 
and  forms  which  prevail  and  succeed  in  a  foreign  coun 
try,  must  fall  into  the  same  pedantry  with  our  young 
scholars  just  fresh  from  an  university,  who  would  fain 
bring  everything  to  a  Roman  standard.  Different  consti 
tutions  of  government  are  necessary  to  the  different  so 
cieties  on  the  face  of  this  planet.  Their  difference  of  po 
sition  is  in  itself  a  powerful  cause — their  manners,  their 
habits.  The  scientific  tailor,  who  should  cut  after  Gre 
cian  or  Chinese  models,  would  not  have  many  customers 
either  in  London  or  Paris  ;  and  those  who  look  to  Amer 
ica  for  their  political  forms  are  not  unlike  the  tailors  in 
the  Island  of  Laputa,  who,  as  Gulliver  tells  us,  always 
take  measure  with  a  quadrant.  He  tells  us,  indeed,  what 
one  would  naturally  expect  from  such  a  process,  that  the 
people  are  seldom  fitted.  The  King,  who  long  since  de 
clared  for  the  people,  has  since  been  wavering.  He  is  an 
honest  man,  and  wishes  really  to  do  good,  but  he  has  not 
either  genius  or  education  to  show  the  way  towards  that 
good  which  he  desires.  In  the  contest  between  the  repre 
sentatives  of  the  people  and  of  the  nobles,  he  has  by  those 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  115 

about  him  been  induced  to  give  support  to  the  latter  ;  but 
he  came  forward  too  late,  and  not  in  the  proper  manner. 
The  result  is  that  he  has  retreated,  and  the  nobles  have  been 
obliged  to  give  way.  .  .  .  The  noblesse,  who  at  this  day 
possess  neither  the  force,  the  wealth,  nor  the  talents  of  the 
nation,  have  rather  opposed  pride  than  argument  to  their 
assailants.  Hugging  the  dear  privileges  of  centuries  long 
elapsed,  they  have  clamored  about  the  Court,  while  their 
adversaries  have  possessed  themselves  fully  of  the  public 
confidence  everywhere.  Knowing  and  feeling  the  force  of 
that  situation,  they  have  advanced  with  a  boldness  which, 
to  those  unacquainted  with  all  the  facts,  has  looked  like 
temerity.  But  this  hardihood  has  imposed — those  who  are 
at  the  head  of  the  opposition  to  them  are  not  possessed  of 
talents  or  of  virtue.  The  chief  has  not  even  courage, 
without  which  you  know  that  in  revolutions  there  is  noth 

"The  French  troops,  as  far  as  can  be  ascertained,  would 
not  serve  against  their  countrymen,  and  the  foreign  troops 
are  not  sufficiently  numerous  to  make  any  serious  impres 
sion.  The  people  of  this  city  are  going  (by  that  invincible 
instinct  which  produces  in  every  animal  the  conduct  pe 
culiar  to  his  situation)  in  the  same  road  which  marked 
the  aurora  of  American  opposition.  Three  months  ago  the 
sight  of  a  soldier  excited  awe — now  they  speak  of  attacking 
whole  regiments,  and  in  effect  there  are  not  infrequently 
some  scuffles  with  the  foreign  troops.  Thus  opinion, 
which  is  everything,  becomes  daily  fortified.  While  I 
write  I  consider  the  sovereignty  of  this  country  as  being 
effectually  lodged  in  the  hands  of  the  Assemblee  Nationale, 
for  you  will  observe  that  this  name  is  assumed  instead 
of  Etats-Generaux,  which  is  tantamount  to  an  American 
legislature  resolving  itself  into  a  convention.  They  mean 
immediately  to  form  a  constitution,  and  I  have  no  doubt 


but  that  they  will  obtain  the  King's  consent.  The  parti 
sans  of  the  ancient  establishments  have  contrived  to  have 
a  very  large  body  of  troops  assembled  in  this  neighbor 
hood,  but,  if  I  conjecture  rightly,  those  troops  will  soon  be 
dispersed.  The  National  Assembly  have  already  marked 
their  disapprobation,  but  the  matter  will  not  stop  here, 
and  sooner  or  later  the  King  must  send  them  away.  In 
deed,  I  am  induced  to  believe  that  this  measure  will  cause 
the  kingdom  to  be  cleared  of  foreign  troops,  for,  not  be 
ing  able  to  rely  on  the  French  regiments,  they  have  se 
lected  principally  the  foreigners.  The  probable  object  of 
those  who  are  at  the  bottom  of  the  business  is  to  surprise 
some  order  from  His  Majesty's  fears,  which  are  now  con 
tinually  excited,  so  that  he  is  constantly  the  sport  of  ap 
prehensions.  But  they  have  a  more  difficult  and  danger 
ous  business  than  they  are  at  all  aware  of.  The  Assembly 
have  determined  that  all  taxes  shall  cease,  when  they 
separate,  except  such  as  they  continue  to  impose.  This 
provides  for  as  long  a  term  of  existence  as  they  may  choose 
to  take,  and  if  dispersed,  France  will  certainly  refuse  to 
pay.  An  army  will  never  break  a  general  combination  to 
that  effect ;  so  that  either  sooner  or  later  they  must  submit, 
and  every  show  of  authority  now  will  weaken  it  without 
producing  any  other  effect.  Such,  then,  is  the  state  of  this 
country,  in  which  I  think  the  crisis  is  past,  without  having 
been  perceived,  and  now  a  free  constitution  will  be  the 
certain  result.  If  they  have  the  good  sense  to  give  the 
nobles  as  such  some  share  in  the  national  authority,  that 
constitution  will  probably  endure  ;  but  otherwise  it  will 
degenerate  into  a  pure  monarchy,  or  become  a  vast  re 
public.  A  democracy — can  that  last  ?  I  think  not — I  am 
sure  not,  unless  the  whole  people  are  changed.  In  any 
event,  however,  of  the  business  it  bids  fair  to  change  the 
political  face  of  Europe.  But  whither  am  I  going?" 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  1 1/ 

"Walk  to-day  [July  8th]  in  the  Champs  iClysees,  where  I 
meet  Mr.  Appleton  and  Mr.  Jefferson,  who  tell  me  the 
news  of  Versailles.  There  will  be  on  Saturday  night 
25,000  men  in  and  about  Paris.  Some  talk  of  a  Seance 
Royale  on  Monday,  but  this  not  founded.  Go  to  M.  Le 
Coulteux's.  They  have  sad  news  :  that  the  Etats-Generaux 
are  to  be  dissolved,  a  bankruptcy  declared,  and  the  pay 
of  the  troops  decreased,  etc.  While  at  dinner  De  Norraye 
comes  in  from  Versailles  and  assures  the  company,  from 
the  mouth  of  M.  de  Montmorin,  that  there  is  to  be  no 
Seance  Royale  on  Monday." 

The  next  day  (July  pth)  Morris  was  in  the  hands  of  the 
doctor,  "who  says  I  must  stay  eight  days  longer  in  Paris. 
He  is  certain  I  shall  soon  be  very  well.  I  should  more 
readily  adopt  this  opinion  if  I  were  anywhere  else  than  in 
so  large  and  foul-smelling  a  city  as  Paris.  As  soon  as  I 
can  get  my  business  done  I  am  off  directly  for  London. 
Visit  Mr.  Jefferson,  who  shows  me  his  letter  to  M.  de 
Lafayette  on  the  subject  of  M.  Mirabeau's  misinformation 
to  the  States-General.  To  my  surprise,  it  contains  nothing 
like  what  M.  de  la  Norraye  yesterday  at  dinner  told  the 
company  it  did  contain,  having  had  it  at  M.  de  Mont- 
morin's.  An  excellent  lesson  this,  to  be  cautious  of  be 
lieving."  A  note  this  morning  from  Madame  de  Flahaut 
summoned  Morris  to  her  apartment  during  the  impor 
tant  and  mysterious  ceremony  of  the  toilet.  Here  usu 
ally  in  attendance  was  the  abbe,  without  whom  the 
hour  of  the  toilet  was  not  complete,  who  told  the  latest 
scandal  and  read  the  latest  brochures.  At  this  hour,  po 
etically  called  la  jeunesse  de  la  journe'e,  the  arrangements 
of  the  day  were  made — the  affiche  of  the  theatre  was  ex 
amined,  graceful  scented  notes  of  tenderness  were  received 
and  sent,  gowns  to  be  inspected  and  flowers  to  be  sold, 
temptations  in  the  way  of  laces  and  articles  de  luxe — all 

Il8  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  V. 

found  their  way  into  my  lady's  boudoir  during  the  hour  of 
the  toilet.  And  her  caprices  and  fascinations  charmed 
the  particular  favorite  who  was  admitted  to  the  intimacy 
of  this  informal  morning  hour.  There  were  several  visit 
ors  with  Madame  de  Flahaut  on  this  occasion,  and,  a  pleas 
ant  chat  ended,  Morris  drove  to  Romainville  to  bid  adieu 
to  the  Marechal  de  Castries  and  his  daughter-in-law. 
"  Madame  Lebrun  is  there,  the  famous  painter,  who  is  as 

pleasant  a  companion  as  she  is  artist ;  Madame  de  

the  friend  of  the  Vicomte.  We  walk  about  the  garden. 
The  Marechal  very  kindly  asks  me  to  stay  at  his  country- 
house  for  the  re-establishment  of  my  health.  Approach 
ing  the  house  we  find  Mesdames  de  Segur  and  Chastellux, 
and  are  presently  joined  by  M.  de  Puisignieu.  He  assures 
me  that  the  scarcity  of  corn  is  excessive,  which  he  is  the 
better  able  to  judge  of  as  his  regiment  of  Chasseurs  are 
employed  in  the  escort  of  provisions  and  protection  of 
grain  now  standing.  Take  a  walk  with  Madame  de  Segur 
and  converse  on  the  situation  of  their  public  affairs,  which 
she  understands  as  well  as  anybody.  Take  leave,  with 
promises  to  return  speedily.  Promise  also  to  write  to  her. 
Return  to  town.  This  day  has  been  hot.  I  observe  that 
the  potatoes  which  I  see  growing  are  what  we  consider 
the  worst  kind,  at  least  if  one  may  judge  from  their  tops. 
I  go  to  the  club  when  I  return  to  town  and  hear  that  the 
King,  in  answer  to  the  address  of  the  Etats  respecting  the 
troops,  has  told  them  that  he  had  no  intentions  that  will 
affect  them,  and  if  their  apprehensions  continue  he  will  re 
move  the  session  of  the  States  to  Soissons  or  Noyon  and 
go  himself  to  Compiegne.  This  is  an  artful  reply.  If  he 
can  get  them  far  from  Paris  he  will  weaken  that  impulse 
which  at  present  creates  such  alarm.  But  the  evil  lies 
deeper  than  his'  counsellors  are  aware  of,  and  the  business 
now  broached  must  have  its  complete  course.  While  at 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  119 

the  club  receive  a  message  from  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who 
begs  I  will  come  to  supper  to  tell  her  the  news.  Go.  A 
partie  carrte,  when  I  arrive  and  make  the  fifth.  Stay  late, 
and  reconduct  an  abbe,  one  of  her  favorites.  He  is  hunch- 
.  backed,  and  far  from  an  Adonis  in  other  respects  ;  it  must 
therefore  be  a  moral  attachment.  This  day  has  been  hot, 
but  the  evening  is  pleasant  and  I  feel  no  small  pleasure 
to  smell  the  ripening  grain.  There  are  now,  in  and  about 
this  city,  above  a  million  of  human  creatures  whose  only 
resource  for  bread  is  in  the  vigilance  and  attention  of 
government,  whose  utmost  exertions,  however,  can  but  just 
keep  pace  with  the  necessity." 

Daily  this  great  necessity  grew  more  terrible — the  great 
army  of  the  unemployed  increased  and  clamored  for  bread. 
Rumor  announced  the  approach  of  a  large  army  from 
Versailles  to  the  capital,  and  that  the  Baron  de  Breteuil 
had  said,  "  If  it  is  necessary  to  burn  Paris,  burn  Paris." 
Gayety  meanwhile  reigned  at  Paris.  Fetes  and  dinners 
enlivened  the  frequenters  of  the  Palais  Royal  Gardens,  and 
a  ball  in  the  Champs  Elysees  kept  up  the  spirits  of  the 
fishwomen  and  the  dwellers  in  the  Faubourg  Saint  Antoine. 
Everything  and  everybody  in  Paris  seemed  ready  for  civil 
war.  In  the  council-room  Necker  and  his  friends  saw  the 
king  sleep  his  false  sleep,  which  was  a  ruse  of  His  Majesty 
to  cover  his  embarrassment,  and  they  shrewdly  suspected 
what  it  meant.  July  i2th,  Morris  dined  with  the  Mare- 
chal  de  Castries.  "  As  I  am  going  away  he  takes  me  aside 
to  inform  me  that  M.  Necker  is  no  longer  in  place.  He 
is  much  affected  at  this  intelligence,  and,  indeed,  so  am  I. 
Urge  him  to  go  immediately  to  Versailles.  He  says  he 
will  not,  that  they  have  undoubtedly  taken  all  their  meas 
ures  before  this  moment,  and  therefore  he  must  be  too 
late.  I  tell  him  he  is  not  too  late  to  warn  the  King  of  his 
danger,  which  is  infinitely  greater  than  he  imagines  ;  that 


his  army  will  not  fight  against  the  nation,  and  that  if  he 
listens  to  violent  councils  the  nation  will  undoubtedly  be 
against  him  ;  that  the  sword  has  fallen  imperceptibly  from 
his  hands,  and  that  the  sovereignty  of  the   nation   is  in 
the  Assemblee  Nationale.     He  makes  no  precise  answer 
to  this,  but  is  very  deeply  affected.     Call,  agreeable  to  my 
promise,  on  Madame  de  Flahaut  ;  learn  that  the  whole  ad 
ministration  is  routed  out  and  Necker  banished.     Much 
alarm  here.     Paris  begins  to  be  in  commotion,  and  from 
the    invalid   guard  of  the  Louvre    a  few  of  the   nobility 
take  a  drum  and  beat  to  arms.     M.  de  Narbonne,  the  friend 
of  Madame  de  Stae'l,  considers  a  civil  war  as  inevitable, 
and  is  about  to  join  his  regiment,  being,  as  he  says,  in  a 
conflict  between  the  dictates  of  his  duty  and  of  his  con 
science.     I  tell  him  that  I  know  of  no  duty  but  that  which 
conscience  dictates.     I  presume  his  conscience  will  dic 
tate  to  join  the  strongest  side.     The  little  Abbe  Bertrand, 
after  sallying  out  in  a  fiacre,  returns  frightened  because 
of  a  large  mob  in  the  Rue  St.  Honore,  and  presently  comes 
in  another  abbe,  who  is  of  the  parliament,  and  who,  rejoic 
ing  at  the  change,  is  confoundedly  frightened  at  the  com 
motions.     I  calm  the  fears  of  Madame  de  Flahaut,  whose 
husband  is  mad,  and  in  a  printed  list,  it  seems,  of  the  furi 
ous  aristocrats.     Offer  to  conduct  the  abbe  safely  home, 
which  offer  Bertrand  accepts  of.  His  terror  as  we  go  along  is 
truly  diverting.     As  we  approach  the  Rue  St.  Honore,  his 
imagination  magnifies  the  ordinary  passengers  into  a  vast 
mob,  and  I  can  scarcely  persuade  him  to  trust  his  eyes  in 
stead  of  his  fears.     Having  set  him  down,  I  depart  for  Mr. 
Jefferson's.     In  riding  along  the  boulevards,   all  at  once 
the  carriages  and  horses  and  foot  passengers  turn  about 
and  pass    rapidly.     Presently   after  we    meet   a    body   of 
cavalry,  with  their  sabres  drawn  and  coming  half  speed. 
After  they  have  passed  up  a  little  way  they  stop.     When 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  121 

we  come  to  the  Place  Louis  Quinze,  observe  the  people,  to 
the  number  of  perhaps  an  hundred,  picking  up  stones,  and 
on  looking  back  find  that  the  cavalry  are  returning.  Stop 
at  the  angle  to  see  the  fray,  if  any.  The  people  take  post 
among  the  stones  which  lie  scattered  about  the  whole 
place,  being  then  hewn  for  the  bridge  now  building.  The 
officer  at  the  head  of  the  party  is  saluted  by  a  stone,  and 
immediately  turns  his  horse  in  a  menacing  manner  to 
ward  the  assailant.  But  his  adversaries  are  posted  in  ground 
where  the  cavalry  cannot  act.  He  pursues  his  route,  and 
the  pace  is  soon  increased  to  a  gallop,  amid  a  shower  of 
stones.  One  of  the  soldiers  is  either  knocked  from  his 
horse  or  the  horse  falls  under  him.  He  is  taken  prisoner, 
and  at  first  ill-treated.  They  fired  several  pistols,  but 
without  effect ;  probably  they  were  not  even  charged  with 
ball.  A  party  of  the  Swiss  Guards  are  posted  in  the 
Champs  Elysees  with  cannon.  Proceed  to  Mr.  Jefferson's. 
He  tells  me  that  M.  Necker  received  yesterday  about 
noon  a  letter  from  the  King,  by  the  hands  of  M.  de  la 
Luzerne,  in  which  he  orders  him  to  leave  the  kingdom  ; 
and  at  the  same  time  M.  de  la  Luzerne  is  desired  to  exact 
a  promise  that  he  will  not  mention  the  matter  to  anybody. 
M.  Necker  dines,  and  proposes  to  Madame  Necker  a  visit 
to  a  female  friend  in  the  neighborhood.  On  the  route  he 
communicates  the  intelligence,  and  they  go  to  a  country- 
seat,  make  the  needful  arrangements,  and  depart.  M.  de 
Montmorin  immediately  resigned,  and  is  now  in  Paris. 
In  returning  from  Mr.  Jefferson's  I  am  turned  off  to  the 
left  by  the  vedette  posted  on  the  road  to  the  Place  Louis 
Quinze.  Go  to  the  club.  A  gentleman  just  from  Versailles 
gives  us  an  account  of  the  new  administration.  The  peo 
ple  are  employed  breaking  open  the  armorers'  shops,  and 
presently  a  large  body  of  the  Gardes  Francaises  appear, 
with  bayonets  fixed,  in  the  garden,  mingled  with  the  mob, 

122  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

some  of  whom  are  also  armed.  These  poor  fellows  have 
passed  the  Rubicon  with  a  witness.  'Success  or  a  halter' 
must  now  be  their  motto.  I  think  the  Court  will  again  re 
cede,  and  if  they  do,  all  further  efforts  will  be  idle;  if  they 
do  not,  a  civil  war  is  among  the  events  most  probable.  If 
the  representatives  of  the  Tiers  have  formed  a  just  estimate 
of  their  constituents,  in  ten  days  all  France  will  be  in  a 
commotion.  The  little  affray  which  I  have  witnessed  will 
probably  be  magnified  into  a  bloody  battle  before  it  reaches 
the  frontiers,  and  in  that  case  an  infinity  of  corps  bourgeois 
will  march  to  the  relief  of  the  capital.  They  had  better 
gather  in  the  harvest." 

In  the  beautiful  garden  of  the  Palais  Royal,  among  the 
flowers  and  fountains,  the  news-venders  and  the  gamblers — 
in  this  place,  which  had  been  described  by  the  anti-revolu 
tionists  as  the  image  of  the  Chimera,  with  the  head  of  a 
beautiful  prostitute,  the  tongue  of  a  serpent,  the  hands 
of  a  harpy,  with  eyes  throwing  forth  flames  and  a  mouth 
distilling  poisonous  and  patriotic  words — all  of  revolu 
tionary  Paris  had  assembled  this  Sunday,  the  i2th  of  July. 
The  news  of  Necker's  dismissal  came,  and  was  greeted 
with  a  cry  of  rage.  Camille  Desmoulins,  mounted  on  a 
table,  cried,  "Aux  armes  !  "  and  announced  that  the  Court 
meditated  a  "  St.  Bartholomew  of  patriots."  Women  dis 
tributed  green  cockades,  the  favorite  color  of  the  hour,  and 
at  midnight  the  big  bells  of  Notre  Dame  and  of  the  Hotel 
de  Ville  rang  out  their  alarm.  That  night,  in  Paris,  none 
but  children  slept.  At  Versailles  the  day  passed  in  anx 
iety  ;  communication  with  Paris  was  cut  off,  and  when 
the  Assembly  began  its  sitting,  the  morning  of  the  i3th, 
Versailles  was  still  in  ignorance  of  events  at  Paris.  But 
they  knew  that  the  old  ministry  had  been  ordered  to  quit 
the  Court,  and  that  in  the  new  one  they  had  small  confi 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  123 

The  next  morning  Morris  hears  from  Martin,  his  ser 
vant,  that  the  Hotel  de  Force  is  broken  into,  and  all  the 
prisoners  liberated.  "  Presently  after,"  he  continues,  "  a 
letter  is  brought  in  enclosing  one  for  me  from  Mr.  Nes- 
bitt,  who  is  at  the  Temple  and  wishes  to  see  me  ;  but  my 
cocker  tells  me  he  cannot  bring  my  carriage,  having  al 
ready  been  stopped  and  turned  back.  In  effect,  the  little 
city  of  Paris  is  in  as  great  a  tumult  as  any  could  wish. 
They  are  getting  arms  wherever  they  can  find  any  ;  seize 
600  barrels  of  powder  in  a  boat  on  the  Seine  ;  break  into 
the  Monastery  of  St.  Lazare,  and  find  a  store  of  grain  which 
the  holy  brotherhood  has  laid  in.  Immediately  it  is  put 
into  carts  and  sent  to  the  market,  and  in  every  cart  a 
friar.  The  Garde-Meuble  du  Roi  is  attacked,  and  the  arms 
are  delivered  up  to  prevent  worse  consequences.  These, 
however,  are  more  curious  than  useful.  But  the  detail  of 
the  variety  of  this  day's  deeds  would  be  endless.  I  dine  at 
home,  and  after  dinner  go  to  the  Louvre,  having  previ 
ously  ornamented  my  hat  with  a  green  bow  in  honor  of 
the  Tiers,  for  this  is  the  fashion  of  the  day,  which  every 
body  is  obliged  to  comply  with  who  means  to  march  in 
peace.  It  is  somewhat  whimsical  that  this  day  of  violence 
and  tumult  is  the  only  one  in  which  I  have  dared  to  walk 
the  streets,  but  as  no  carriages  are  abroad  but  the  fiacres, 
I  do  not  hazard  being  crushed,  and  apprehend  nothing 
from  the  populace.  Madame  de  Flahaut  is  under  a  great 
apprehension,  which  I  endeavor  to  appease.  Capellis 
comes  in,  and  when  we  are  about  to  set  off  for  the  Palais 
Royal,  we  meet  on  the  stairs  monsieur,  from  Versailles,  who 
tells  us  the  news.  Go  to  club.  Sit  a  while  chatting  on 
the  state  of  public  affairs.  M.  de  Moreton  tells  me  that 
the  present  ministers  are  a  set  of  rascals  and  tyrants, 
that  he  knows  them  perfectly  well,  and  one  of  them,  it 
seems,  is  his  relation,  for  whom  he  exhibits  no  partiality. 

124  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

After  a  while   Monsieur  de  arrives  from  Versailles, 

and  tells  us  that  the  fashion  at  Court  is  to  believe  that  the 
disturbances  at  Paris  are  very  trifling.  The  National  As 
sembly  have  advised  the  King  to  recall  the  former  minis 
try,  and  to  permit  the  Assembly  to  send  a  deputation  to 
Paris  to  recommend  the  forming  des  corps  bourgeois  for 
the  maintenance  of  order  in  the  city.  To  the  first,  he 
replied  that  the  executive  power  is  his,  and  he  will  ap 
point  whom  he  pleases  to  be  his  ministers  ;  and  he  disap 
proves  the  second  measure.  In  consequence  of  this,  the  As 
sembly  make  some  sharp  resolutions,  whose  purport  seems 
to  be  the  devoting  to  public  infamy  the  present  admin 
istration,  and  declaring  His  Majesty's  advisers  to  be  guilty 
of  high  treason.  Thus  the  Court  and  popular  party  are 
pitted  against  each  other.  In  ten  days  I  think  it  will  be 
decided  whether  the  retreat  of  the  monarch  will  be  imme 
diate  and  only  ruin  his  counsellors,  or  whether  it  will  be 
remote  and  his  own  ruin  involved  in  that  of  his  ministers. 
Some  horses  are  brought  into  the  Palais  Royal.  We  go 
to  see  what  they  are,  but  cannot  learn.  We  are  told, 
however,  by  one  of  the  orators  that  they  have  received  a 
deputation  from  the  two  regiments  quartered  at  St.  Denis, 
offering  to  join  the  Tiers  if  they  will  come  out  and  receive 
them  !  My  companions  urge  them  by  all  means  to  go. 
But  this  manoeuvre  must  at  least  be  deferred  till  to-mor 
row.  The  leaders  here,  I  think,  err  in  not  bringing  about 
immediately  some  pretty  severe  action  between  the  for 
eign  and  national  troops.  The  consequences  would,  in 
my  opinion,  be  decisive." 

"Arms  and  bread!"  is  the  cry  on  Tuesday,  the  i4th. 
The  wine  and  bread  shops  have  been  pillaged  ;  now  arms 
are  wanted.  The  mob  rushed  to  the  Hotel  de  Ville,  hear 
ing  from  an  elector,  the  Abbe  d'Ormesson,  that  arms 
were  stored  there  ;  then  to  the  Hopital  des  Invalides,  and 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  125 

forced  the  garrison  to  give  up  arms.  Then  came  the  cry, 
"We  want  the  Bastille."  Nearly  80,000  men,  with  scarce 
ly  the  semblance  of  a  leader,  had  been  got  together.  A 
horde  of  these  men,  armed  and  desperate,  filled  the  avenues 
leading  to  this  fortress,  prison,  and  tomb.  Morris  men 
tions  being  stopped  twice  while  driving,  "  to  see  if  there 
be  any  arms  in  my  carriage.  While  I  am  visiting  M.  Le 
Coulteux  a  person  comes  to  announce  the  taking  of  the 
Bastille,  the  Governor  of  which  is  beheaded,  and  the  Pre- 
vot  des  Marchands  is  killed  and  also  beheaded.  They 
are  carrying  the  heads  in  triumph  through  the  city.  The 
carrying  of  this  citadel  is  among  the  most  extraordinary 
things  I  have  met  with.  It  cost  the  assailants  60  men,  it 
is  said.  The  Hotel  Royal  des  Invalides  was  forced  this 
morning,  and  the  cannon  and  small  arms,  etc.,  brought  off. 
The  citizens  are  by  these  means  well  armed,  at  least  here 
are  the  materials  for  about  30,000  to  be  equipped  with, 
and  that  is  a  sufficient  army.  I  find  that  the  information 
received  last  night  as  to  the  arrfae  of  the  Assemblee 
Nationale  is  not  correct.  They  have  only  declared  that 
the  last  administration  carry  with  them  the  regret  of 
the  chambers  that  they  will  persist  in  insisting  on  the 
removal  of  the  troops,  and  that  His  Majesty's  advisers, 
whatever  their  rank  and  station,  are  guilty  of  all  the  con 
sequences  which  may  ensue.  Yesterday  it  was  the  fashion 
at  Versailles  not  to  believe  that  there  were  any  disturb 
ances  at  Paris.  I  presume  that  this  day's  transactions  will 
induce  a  conviction  that  all  is  not  perfectly  quiet.  From 
M.  Le  Coulteux's  go  to  visit  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  is  in 
much  anxiety.  Her  husband,  she  tells  me,  is  foolhardy, 
and  she  apprehends  much  for  his  safety.  I  am  present  at 
a  family  scene  in  which  she  plays  her  part  extremely 
well,  and  appeals  to  me  for  my  opinion  on  one  of  the 
points.  I  answer  that  in  discussions  of  such  a  delicate 

126  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

nature  it  is  a  rule  with  me  not  to  interfere.  The  question 
is  whether  he  should  leave  the  city.  I  advise  him,  if  he 
does,  to  go  at  noonday,  etc.  While  he  is  sitting  with  us, 
madame  having  on  her  lap  an  ecritoire,  by  way  of  exciting 
his  curiosity  I  scribble  some  wretched  lines,  which  he  asks 
me  to  translate  for  him.  Nothing  is  easier  ;  but,  unluck 
ily,  one  of  the  ideas  is  not  calculated  to  please.  It  was 
thus  : 

In  fever*  on  your  lap  I  write, 

Expect,  then,  but  a  feeble  lay ; 
And  yet,  in  every  proverb's  spite, 

Tho'  'tis  in  verse,  believe,  I  pray. 

No  lover  I ;  alas  !  too  old 

To  raise  in  you  a  mutual  flame. 
Then  take  a  passion  rather  cold, 

And  call  it  by  fair  friendship's  name." 

She  tells  me  that  he  looked  rather  foolish  at  the  declara 
tion  of  being  too  old  to  excite  a  passion.  I  assure  her  my 
object  was  only  to  excite  curiosity.  She  observes  that  I 
succeeded  in  my  wishes,  but  that  it  was  ridiculous  in  mon 
sieur  to  ask  an  explanation,  because  I  could  have  given 
him  the  same  translation  if  the  lines  had  been  entirely 

During  the  hours  of  fright,  tumult,  and  horror  in  Paris, 
when  the  body  of  De  Launay,  after  being  kicked  and 
dragged  through  the  gutter  and  his  head  carried  on  a  pike 
through  the  streets  in  triumph,  was  left  lying,  with  many 
other  victims,  in  the  Place  de  Greve,  the  Comte  d'Artois 
at  Versailles  held  high  carnival  in  the  orangery  and, 
with  dances,  songs,  feasting,  and  wine  in  abundance,  en 
tertained  the  foreign  soldiery.  The  morning  of  the  i5th, 

*  Morris  had  been  ill  with  a  chill  and  fever. 


Morris  says,  "La  Caze  comes  from  Le  Normand  to  tell 
me  that  it  is  impossible  to  do  business  this  day,  which, 
I  fear,  is  true  enough.  He  also  tells  me  the  King  is  com 
ing  to  town  this  day  [July  15  th],  which  J  do  not  believe  a 
word  of.  Dress  and  wait  long  for  my  carriage.  Receive 
a  message  from  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Walk  to  the  Louvre, 
and  order  my  carriage  to  follow  ;  later  I  go  to  Mr.  Jeffer 
son's,  and  am  stopped  near  the  Pont  Royal  and  obliged 
to  turn  into  the  Rue  St.  Honore.  Stopped  again  at  the 
Church  St.  Roch,  and  a  number  of  foolish  questions  asked. 
Colonel  Gardner  comes  to  me ;  is  very  happy  to  be  in 
Paris  at  the  present  moment.  So  am  I.  Considers,  as  I 
do,  the  capture  of  the  Bastille  an  instance  of  great  intre 
pidity.  A  few  paces  from  the  church  I  am  again  stopped, 
and  a  vast  deal  of  self-sufficiency  in  the  officer  brings 
on  an  altercation  with  my  coachman.  As  everything  is 
turned  into  this  street  and  interruptions  of  the  kind  I  ex 
perience  are  so  frequent,  the  embarras  is  very  great.  I 
therefore  turn  back,  and  come  to  the  Hotel  to  dine. 
While  I  am  at  dinner  La  Caze  comes  in.  Fie  contradicts 
his  news  of  this  morning,  but  says  a  deputy  is  just  arrived 
from  the  States-General  who  brings  an  account  that  the 
King  has  retreated,  etc.  This  I  expected.  We  shall  see. 
Go,  according  to  promise,  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's,  with 
her  nephew  and  the  Abbe  Bertrand  ;  we  proceed  along 
the  quay  to  the  Tuileries,  walk  a  little,  and  sit  some  time. 
She  wants  to  see  the  deputies  of  the  Assemblee  Nationale 
come  to  town,  owns  that  it  is  foolish,  but  says  that  all 
women  have  the  same  folly.  There  is  much  rejouissance 
in  town.  After  placing  madame  at  home,  her  nephew 
and  I  go  to  the  club.  I  send  away  my  carriage,  and  pres 
ently  after  receive  a  message  from  her  desiring  the  loan 
of  it.  Send  the  servant  after  the  coachman,  but  it  is  too 
late.  His  horses  are  put  up,  and  he  is  patrolling  as  one  of 

128  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

the  garde  bourgeoise.  The  Due  d'Aguillon*  and  Baron  de 
Menouf  are  at  the  club,  both  of  them  deputies  of  the  no 
blesse.  I  learn  through  and  from  them  the  secret  history 
of  the  revolution  of  this  day.  Yesterday  evening  an  ad 
dress  was  presented  to  the  Assembly,  to  which  His  Maj 
esty  returned  an  answer  by  no  means  satisfactory.  The 
Queen,  Comte  d'Artois,  and  Duchesse  de  Polignac  had  been 
all  day  tampering  with  two  regiments,  who  were  made  al 
most  drunk,  and  every  officer  was  presented  to  the  King, 
who  was  induced  to  give  promises,  money,  etc.,  to  these 
regiments.  They  shouted  'Vive  la  Reine,  'Vive  le  Comte 
d'Artois,'  'Vive  la  Duchesse  de  Polignac,' and  their  music 
came  and  played  under  Her  Majesty's  windows.  In  the 
meantime,  Marechal  de  Broglie  was  tampering  in  person 
with  the  artillery.  The  plan  was  to  reduce  Paris  to  famine, 
and  to  take  two  hundred  members  of  the  National  Assem 
bly  prisoners.  But  they  found  that  the  troops  would  not 
serve  against  their  country.  Of  course  these  plans  could 
not  be  carried  into  effect.  They  took  care,  however,  not 
to  inform  the  King  of  all  the  mischiefs.  At  two  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  the  Due  de  Liancourt  went  into  his  bed 
chamber  and  waking  him,  told  him  all  ;  told  him  that  he 
pawned  his  life  on  the  truth  of  his  narration,  and  that  un 
less  he  changed  his  measures  speedily  all  was  lost.  The 
King  took  his  determination.  The  Bishop  d'Autun  (they 
say)  was  called  on  to  prepare  un  discours,  which  he  did. 
The  orders  were  given  for  dispersing  the  troops,  and  at 
the  meeting  of  the  Assembly  the  King,  accompanied  by 

*  Due  Armand  de  Vignero  d'Aguillon  was  the  second  of  the  noblesse  to  re 
nounce  his  privileges  in  the  session  of  August  4th,  warmly  supported  the 
popular  cause  in  the  States-General,  and  later  took  command  of  one  of  the 
armies  ;  was  prosecuted  in  1792,  but  escaped  by  flight. 

t  Jacques  Francois  Baron  de  Menou.  Served  in  the  Republican  army  in 
1793,  in  the  Vendean  campaign,  and  commanded  the  National  Guard  which 
suppressed  the  insurrection  in  the  Faubourg  St.  Antoine. 


his  two  brothers  and  the  captain  of  the  guard,  came  in  and 
made  his  speech.  This  produced  very  enthusiastic  emo 
tions  of  joy,  and  he  was  reconducted  to  the  Chateau  by 
the  whole  Assembly,  and  by  all  the  inhabitants  of  Ver 
sailles.  They  tell  me  that  the  Baron  de  Besenval  *  is  de- 
noncd  by  the  Assemblee  Nationale,  which  appellation  the 
King  recognizes  in  his  discours  ;  that  they  will  pursue  the 
present  ministry.  I  give  my  opinion  that  after  what  is 
passed  the  Comte  d'Artois  should  not  be  suffered  to  stay 
in  France.  In  this  they  agree.  They  say  that  they  will 
*  faire  le  proces  '  of  the  Marechal  de  Broglie,  and  probably 
of  the  Baron  de  Breteuil.  Sup  with  them,  and,  the  claret 
being  better  than  any  I  have  tasted  in  France,  I  give  them 
as  a  toast  the  liberty  of  the  French  nation  and  of  the  city 
of  Paris,  which  are  drunk  with  very  good  will.  Return 
home.  This  has  been  a  very  fine  day.  It  is  said  that  the 
King  is  to  be  in  town  at  n  o'clock  to-morrow.  But  for 
what  ?  Bon  mot :  The  Baron  de  Besenval  is  denonce  on 
account  of  some  letters  he  had  written  which  were  inter 
cepted.  The  Due  de  la  Rochefoucault,  appointed  one  of 
the  Assemblee  Nationale  by  the  city  of  Paris,  meets  the 
baron  coming  out  of  the  King's  cabinet.  '  Eh  bien,  Mon 
sieur  le  Baron,  avez-vous  encore  les  ordres  a  donner  pour 
Paris  ? '  The  baron  takes  it  as  a  politcsse.  '  Non,  Mon 
sieur  le  Due,  excepte  qu'on  m'envoie  mavoiture.'  'Appa- 
remment  c'est  une  voiture  de  poste,  Monsieur  le  Baron.' 
Another  :  In  the  procession  yesterday  the  King  and  Comte 
d'Artois,  walking  together,  were  much  crowded.  One 
of  the  deputies  said  to  another,  '  Voyez  comme  on  presse  le 
Roi  et  Monsieur  le  Comte  d'Artois.'  The  other  answered, 
'  II  y  a  cette  difference  pourtant,  que  le  Roi  est  presse  par 
1'amour  de  son  peuple.'  To  which  the  King,  not  hearing 

*  Baron  de  Besenval  was  tried  by  M.  Deseze,  a  celebrated  advocate,  and 
discharged,  March,  1790. 


130  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  V. 

more  than  the  last  words  of  the  conversation,  replied,  in 
turning  round,  '  Oui,  c'est  juste.'  " 

This  was  the  last  successful  day  for  the  king.  Among 
the  deputies  who,  taking  hands,  made  a  chain  around  him 
— even  amid  the  cries  of  "  Vive  le  Roi  ! " — there  lurked 
suspicion.  A  woman  in  the  crowd  dared  press  by  the 
Comte  d'Artois  to  the  king  and  say  to  him,  "  Oh,  my  king, 
are  you  sincere  ?  Will  you  not  change  within  a  fortnight  ?  " 
"No,"  said  the  king,  "I  shall  never  change." 

On  the  i6th  a  committee  was  held  in  the  king's  apart 
ments,  to  discuss  the  important  question  whether  His 
Majesty  should  quit  Versailles  with  the  troops,  or  go  to 
Paris  to  calm  the  people.  "  The  queen  was  for  depart 
ure,"  Madame  Campan  says,  but  it  was  decided  that  the 
king  alone  should  go  to  Paris.  The  king  accordingly 
went  to  Paris  on  the  i7th,  accompanied  by  the  Marechal 
de  Beauvau,  the  Due  de  Villeroy,  the  Due  de  Villeguier, 
and  the  Comte  d'Estaing.*  "The  queen  restrained  her 
tears,"  says  Madame  Campan,  "and  shut  herself  up  with 
her  family  in  her  private  rooms.  She  scarcely  expected 
that  the  king  would  return ;  a  deadly  terror  reigned 
throughout  the  palace,  and  fear  was  at  its  height." 

"This  morning"  [July  iyth],  says  the  diary,  "my  coach 
man  tells  me  there  are  placards  up  forbidding  any  car 
riages  to  run,  as  the  King  is  in  town  this  day  between  ten 
and  eleven.  Here  is  another  day  in  which  nothing  will  be 
done.  Dress  immediately,  and  go  out.  Get  a  window, 
through  the  aid  of  Madame  de  Flahaut,  in  the  Rue  St. 
Honore,  through  which  the  procession  is  to  pass.  In 

*  Count  Charles  Hector  d'Estaing,  commandant  of  the  National  Guard  at 
Versailles,  was  intimate  at  Court.  Madame  Campan  says  he  us'ed  to  dine 
with  the  butchers  at  Versailles,  and  nattered  the  people  by  the  meanest  con 
descensions.  He  worked  hard  to  save  the  king  and  queen,  and  was  himself 
guillotined  in  April,  1794. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  131 

squeezing  through  the  crowd  my  pocket  is  picked  of  a 
handkerchief,  which  I  value  far  beyond  what  the  thief 
will  get  for  it,  and  I  should  willingly  pay  him  for  his  dex 
terity  could  I  retrieve  it.  We  wait  from  eleven  till  four. 
It  seems  that  His  Majesty  was  escorted  by  the  militia  of 
Versailles  to  the  Point-du-Jour,  where  he  entered  the 
double  file  of  Parisian  militia  which  extends  from  thence 
to  the  Hotel  de  Ville.  Our  friend  Lafayette,  elected 
general  of  the  militia  of  Paris,  precedes  his  sovereign. 
They  move  slowly,  amid  the  acclamations  of,  '  Vive  la  na 
tion  !'  Each  line  composed  of  three  ranks  ;  consequently 
it  is  a  body  six  deep  extending  that  distance.  The  Assem- 
blee  Nationale  walk  promiscuously  together  in  the  proces 
sion.  The  King's  Horse  Guards,  some  of  the  Gardes  du 
Corps,  and  all  those  who  attend  him,  have  the  cockades  of 
the  city,  viz.,  red  and  blue.  It  is  a  magnificent  procession 
in  every  respect.  After  it  is  over,  go  to  dinner  at  the 
*  traiteur's,'  and  get  a  beefsteak  and  bottle  of  claret.  A 
deputy  from  Bretagne  comes  in,  whom  I  met  yesterday  at  a 
table  d'hote  at  Versailles.  We  seat  him  at  our  little  table. 
He  tells  me  that  the  King  yesterday  sent  the  Assembly  a 
letter  of  recall  for  M.  Necker  ;  that  the  ministers  have  all 
resigned,  except  the  Baron  de  Breteuil,  who  says  he  never 
accepted  ;  that  the  Comte  d'Artois,  the  Due  and  Du- 
chesse  de  Polignac,  M.  de  Vaudreuil,  and,  in  short,  the  whole 
Committee  Polignac,  have  decamped  last  night  in  despair. 
I  tell  him  that  travelling  may  be  useful  to  the  Comte 
d'Artois,  and  therefore  it  may  be  well  that  he  visited  for 
eign  parts.  We  have  a  conversation  on  the  commerce  of 
their  islands,  in  which  I  state  to  him  what  I  conceive  to  be 
the  true  principle  on  which  their  system  should  be  found 
ed.  He  desires  a  further  conversation,  when  that  matter 
shall  be  agitated.  Tell  him  I  am  going  to  London.  He 
desires  to  have  my  address,  that  he  may  write  to  me.  I 


promise  to  let  him  have  it.  He  mentions  something  which 
interests  my  friend  the  Comtesse  de  Flahaut.  I  tell  him 
sundry  truths  the  communication  of  which  will  be  useful 
to  her,  and  omit  certain  others  which  might  prove  injuri 
ous,  and  thus  make  an  impression  different  from  what  he 
had  received,  but  I  fear  the  folly  of  her  husband  and  the 
madness  of  his  brother  will  ruin  them  both.  It  is  impos 
sible  to  help  those  who  will  not  help  themselves.  I  call 
on  her,  and  tell  her  what  has  passed  in  the  government. 
Sit  a  while  with  her  and  the  Abbe  Bertrand,  and  then  go 
to  the  club.  The  King  this  day  confirmed  the  choice  made 
by  the  mayor  ;  gave  his  approbation  of  the  regiment  of 
city  guards.  He  put  in  his  hat  a  large  cockade  of  the  red 
and  blue  ribbons,  and  then,  and  not  till  then,  received  the 
general  shouts  of  "  Vive  le  Roi!  "  This  day  will,  I  think, 
prove  a  useful  lesson  to  him  for  the  rest  of  his  life,  but  he 
is  so  weak  that  unless  he  is  kept  out  of  bad  company  it  is 
impossible  that  he  should  not  act  wrongly." 

"The  weather  [July  i8th]  is  pleasant,  and  the  town  be 
gins  to  be  a  little  quiet.  I  go  to  the  club  and  take  tea. 
Kersaw  tells  me  that  the  Augean  stable  of  Versailles  is 
now  quite  clean.  The  Abbe  Vermond,  and  the  King's 
valet  de  chambre  De  Thierry,  and  the  Comte  d'Angivill- 
iers,*  of  his  buildings,  are  departed.  De  Thierry  he  dis 
missed,  with  many  execrations.  There  are  places  in  abun 
dance  to  bestow  now,  and,  of  course,  there  will  be  an 
abundance  of  intrigue  to  get  them.  In  short,  the  whole 
conspiracy  against  freedom  is  blown  up  to  the  moon." 

*  Count  Charles  Claude  d'Angiviliers,  a  patron  of  arts  and  sciences,  a  favor 
ite  of  Louis  XVI.,  who  made  him  Director  of  Royal  Gardens,  Manufactures, 
and  Buildings  ;  died  in  1810. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  133 


Dinner  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  Artists'  studios.  Dinner  with  Lafay 
ette.  Visit  to  the  Bastille.  The  Club.  Foulon's  head  carried  through 
the  streets.  Making  up  a  foreign  mail.  Madame  de  Montmorin. 
Ideas  respecting  a  constitution  for  France.  Asked  to  consult  with  the 
ministers.  Passport  for  London.  Journey  to  England.  Beggars. 
Impressions  of  England. 

THAT  jolie  intrigante,  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  never 
failed  to  pull  the  strings  that  moved  the  puppets 
high  in  authority,  had  probably  some  scheme  in  her  clever 
little  head  when  she  hospitably  entertained  her  satellites 
in  the  persons  of  the  Abbe  Bertrand,  the  Due  de  Biron,  the 
Eveque  d'Autun,  and  Mr.  Morris  at  dinner,  soon  after  the 
Augean  stable  at  Versailles  had  been  cleansed  and  there 
were  places  in  abundance  to  bestow.  "Very  agreeable," 
Morris  says  he  found  this  society.  It  would  not  be 
difficult  to  imagine  the  wit  and  abandon  of  the  conversa 
tion  ;  the  spirituel  and  delicate  repartee  which  fell  from 
the  lips  of  the  fair  hostess  ;  the  sarcastic  and  subtle  wit, 
joined  with  immense  tact,  which  characterized  the  Bishop 
of  Autun ;  the  careless,  daring  indifference  to  conse 
quences  which  seemed  to  belong  to  that  Don  Juan,  the 
Due  de  Biron  ;  the  Abbe  Bertrand,  whom  Morris  always 
found  agreeable  ;  and,  last  of  the  number,  Morris  him 
self,  not  very  much  behind  the  Frenchmen  in  wit  and  ap 
preciation.  It  is  matter  of  regret  that  none  of  the  conver 
sation  found  its  way  into  the  pages  of  the  diary  ;  but  "we 
all  go,"  Morris  says  (July  ipth),  "after  dinner,  to  visit  a 
painter  and  see  three  pieces,  in  one  of  which  the  actual 

1 34  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  VI. 

execution  of  perspective  goes  beyond  the  power  of  my 
imagination,  particularly  in  the  right  hand  of  the  princi 
pal  figure,  which  stands  out  so  completely  from  the  can 
vas  that  one  absolutely  sees  all  round  it,  a  thing  scarce 
credible,  but  which  is  not  the  less  true.  The  subject  is 
Love  escaped  from  his  cage  and  leaving  by  his  flight  the 
ladies  in  anguish  and  despair.  The  expression  does  not 
come  up  to  my  ideas  of  the  power  of  this  art,  but  the 
light  and  shade  are  distributed  through  the  piece  in  a  most 
astonishing  perfection.  He  (the  painter)  shows  us  a  piece 
he  is  now  about  for  the  King,  taken  from  the  ^Eneid  : 
Venus  restraining  the  arm  which  is  raised  in  the  temple 
of  the  Vestals  to  shed  the  blood  of  Helen.  I  tell  him  he 
had  better  paint  the  Storm  of  the  Bastille  ;  it  will  be  a 
more  fashionable  picture,  and  that  one  trait  will  admit  of 
a  fine  effect.  It  is  of  the  garde  fran$aise  who,  having  got 
hold  of  the  gate  and  unable  to  bring  it  down,  cries  to  his 
comrades  of  the  populace  to  pull  by  his  legs.  And  this 
man  has  the  force  and  courage  to  hold  while  a  dozen  of 
them  pull  him  like  a  rope  and  bring  down  the  gate,  so 
that  he  actually  sustains  the  rack.  To  represent  him 
drawn  out  of  joint,  with  his  head  turned  round,  encourag 
ing  them  to  pull  still  harder,  must,  I  think,  have  a  fine 
effect.  L'Eveque  d'Autun  agrees  with  me  entirely  in  this 
sentiment.  Returning,  we  find  M.  de  Rouille,  who,  I  find, 
is  writing  a  history  of  the  present  revolution.  He  prom 
ises  to  meet  me  at  the  club  and  give  me  the  news  of  M. 
Necker.  Take  the  abbe  home,  and  then  go  to  the  club. 
M.  de  Rouille  tells  me  they  have  yet  no  news  of  M. 
Necker,  but  expect  an  express  to-night,  and  that  if  he  is 
not  yet  farther  than  Brussels  he  will  be  in  to-morrow 
night.  Recommend  a  subscription  to  collect  the  various 
papers  found  in  the  Bastille,  and  then  to  employ  an  able 
hand  in  writing  the  annals  of  that  diabolical  castle,  from 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  135 

the  beginning  of  Louis  Fourteenth's  reign  to  the  present 
moment.  Something  of  this  sort  will,  I  believe,  be  done. 
Give  the  hint  also  of  forming  the  Garde  Franeaise  into  a 
city  guard,  with  very  high  pay,  and  keep  up  the  corps  by 
putting  with  it  all  those  who,  by  good  conduct,  shall  have 
merited  something  more  than  the  rank  of  a  common  sol 
dier,  without  being  qualified  for  that  of  a  sergeant.  They 
know  not  what  to  do  at  present  with  this  corps." 

"  This  morning  [July  2oth]  I  go  to  the  Hotel  de  Ville. 
With  much  difficulty  find  out  the  Marquis  de  Lafayette,* 
who  is  exhausted  by  a  variety  of  attentions.  Tell  him  I 
will  send  his  letters  to  America,  and  he  must  give  me  a 
passport  to  visit  the  Bastille.  Agree  to  dine  with  him,  on 
condition  that  I  may  bring  my  own  wine.  Return  home, 
write,  and  at  four  go  to  the  Hotel  de  Lafayette.  Find 

there  Madame  and  the  Due  de  la  Rochefoucault,  M. , 

etc.,  to  dine.  He  gives  me  my  passport  for  the  Bastille. 
Suggest  to  him  my  plan  respecting  the  Garde  Francaise 
which  he  likes.  Advise  him  to  have  a  completed  plan  for 
the  militia  prepared,  and  to  submit  it  to  the  committee. 
Ask  him  if  he  can  think  of  any  steps  which  may  be  taken 
to  induce  the  King  to  confer  on  him  the  government  of 
the  Isle  of  France.  He  tells  me  that  he  would  prefer  that 
of  Paris  simply ;  that  he  has  had  the  utmost  power  his 
heart  could  wish,  and  is  grown  tired  of  it ;  that  he  has 
commanded  absolutely  an  hundred  thousand  men  ;  has 
marched  his  sovereign  about  the  streets  as  he  pleased, 
prescribed  the  degree  of  applause  which  he  should  re 
ceive,  and  could  have  detained  him  prisoner  had  he 
thought  proper.  He  wishes  therefore,  as  soon  as  possi- 

*  Lafayette  had  done  most  efficient  work  in  Paris  as  commandant  of  the 
National  Guard.  From  the  i4th  to  the  226.  of  July  he,  at  the  risk  of  his  life, 
saved  seventeen  persons  from  hanging  and  other  violent  deaths  in  different 
quarters  of  the  city. 


ble,  to  return  to  private  life.  In  this  last  expression  he 
deceives  himself  or  wishes  to  deceive  me,  or  both,  per 
haps.  But  in  fact  he  is  the  lover  of  freedom  from  am 
bition,  of  which  there  are  two  kinds  :  one  born  of  pride, 
the  other  of  vanity,  and  his  partakes  most  of  the  lat 

"At  half-past  one  [July  2ist]  I  call  for  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut,  who  expressed  a  wish  to  accompany  me  to  the  Bas 
tille.  Capellis  and  the  Abbe  Bertrand  are  waiting.  Pres 
ently  after  Madame  appears,  with  Mademoiselle  Duplessis. 
We  get  all  together  into  the  coach  of  Capellis,  and  go  to 
the  Bastille.*  Some  difficulty  in  getting  through  the 
guards,  notwithstanding  my  passport.  We  meet  in  the 
architect  employed  in  the  demolition  an  old  acquaintance 
of  the  abbe's,  who  is  glad  to  be  useful.  He  shows  us 
everything — more  than  I  wish  to  see,  as  it  stinks  horribly. 
The  storming  of  this  castle  was  a  bold  enterprise.  Re 
turn  to  the  Louvre  with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Make  a 
long  visit,  at  first  tete-a-tete.  Give  her  some  verses,  and 
with  infinite  coolness  tell  her  that  I  am  perfectly  my  own 
master  with  respect  to  her  ;  that,  having  no  idea  of  in 
spiring  her  with  a  tender  passion,  I  have  no  idea  either  of 
subjecting  myself  to  one  ;  that,  besides,  I  am  timid  to  a 
fault — that  I  know  it  to  be  wrong,  but  cannot  help  it.  She 
thinks  it  a  very  strange  conversation,  and,  indeed,  so  it  is  ; 
but  I  am  much  mistaken  if  it  does  not  make  an  impression 
much  greater  on  reflection  than  at  the  present  moment. 
Nous  verrons.  The  Duke  of  Orleans  is  at  the  club  to-day. 
I  am  as  cold  with  respect  to  him  as  an  Englishman.  A 
thousand  to  one  we  are  never  acquainted,  but,  if  we  are, 
he  must  make  au  moins  la  moitie  du  chemin"  This  was  Mor 
ris's  first  sight  of  the  duke,  for,  although  he  had  been  so 

*  The  demolition  of  the  Bastille  was  begun  at  once,  and  some  of  the  pris 
oners  were  found  buried  among  the  stones. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  137 

much  with  the  duchess  her  lord  had  never  appeared. 
Possibly  near  her  was  the  last  place  to  look  for  him. 

"To-day  [July  22d]  I  go  to  the  club  to  meet  a  gentle 
man.  At  a  table  d'hote  we  have  a  good  dinner  for  three. 
Coffee,  etc.,  included,  the  price  of  the  dinner  is  48  francs. 
After  dinner  walk  a  little  under  the  arcade  of  the  Palais 
Royal  waiting  for  my  carriage.  In  this  period  the  head 
and  body  of  M.  Foulon  *  are  introduced  in  triumph,  the 
head  on  a  pike,  the  body  dragged  naked  on  the  earth. 
Afterwards,  this  horrible  exhibition  is  carried  through  the 
different  streets.  His  crime  is  to  have  accepted  a  place  in 
the  ministry.  This  mutilated  form  of  an  old  man  of  sev 
enty  is  shown  to  Berthier,  his  son-in-law,  the  intendant  of 
Paris,  and  afterwards  he  is  also  put  to  death  and  cut  to 
pieces,  the  populace  carrying  about  the  mangled  frag 
ments  with  a  savage  joy.  Gracious  God  !  what  a  peo 
ple  ! " 

With  the  Seance  Royale  on  the  226.  of  July  the  crisis 
passed,  and  the  destructive  work  of  the  revolution  was 
complete.  As  Taine  says,  "  It  is  no  longer  a  government 
which  falls  that  it  may  give  way  to  another,  it  is  all  gov 
ernment  which  ceases  to  exist."  It  was  well  to  be  able  to 
turn  from  such  revolting  spectacles  as  those  which  were 
presented  to  the  public  gaze  in  the  streets  of  Paris,  and 
forget  for  a  moment  scenes  so  atrocious,  even  if  for- 
getfulness  were  only  attained  by  spending  the  entire  night 
making  up  a  mail  for  America — an  arduous  task  when  the 
grandfathers  of  the  present  generation  sent  letters  across 
the  sea.  "  I  wrote  all  night,"  Morris  says  (July  23d), 
"and  went  to  bed  at  seven  this  morning.  Waked  up  at 
eight  to  seal  my  letters.  Take  some  more  sleep,  and  be 
tween  one  and  two  respond  to  a  wish  of  Madame  de  Fla- 

*  Foulon  was  conseiller  d'etat.     His  anti-popular  opinions  cost  him  his 


haul's  that  I  should  go  to  see  her,  as  she  does  not  go  as 
she  intended  to  Versailles.  She  keeps  me  to  dine,  and 
after  dinner  we  glide  into  a  confidential  conversation.  To 
cure  me  of  any  sentiment  she  might  inspire  in  me,  she 
avows  a  marriage  of  the  heart.  I  guess  the  person.  She 
acknowledges  it,  and  assures  me  that  she  cannot  commit 
an  infidelity  to  him.  I  leave  her,  and  go  to  Jefferson's. 
Sit  and  chat  and  take  tea." 

Of  Jefferson's  standing  in  Paris  Morris  wrote  to  Robert 
Morris  (July  22d)  in  the  following  terms  :  "  He  commands 
very  much  respect  in  this  country,  which  is  merited  by 
good  sense  and  good  intentions.  The  French,  who  pique 
themselves  on  possessing  the  graces,  very  readily  excuse 
in  others  the  want  of  them,  and  to  be  an  Granger  (like 
charity)  covers  a  multitude  of  sins.  On  the  whole,  there 
fore,  I  incline  to  think  that  an  American  minister  at  this 
Court  gains  more  than  he  loses  by  preserving  his  original 
ity.  Mr.  Jefferson  lives  well,  keeps  a  good  table  and  ex 
cellent  wines,  which  he  distributes  freely." 

On  the  eve  of  a  journey  to  England,  then  a  formidable 
undertaking,  Morris  mentions  going  out  to  Versailles  to 
say  good-by  to  his  friends  there — among  them,  Madame 
de  Montmorin.  "  I  desire  to  be  favored  with  her  com 
mands  for  London,"  he  says.  "  To  my  compliments  on 
the  Count  being  restored  to  his  place,  she  replies  that  she 
wishes  to  be  a  good  way  off,  that  she  is  shocked  at  the 
scenes  acting  in  Paris."  The  terrible  catastrophe  which 
later  overtook  her  and  her  family  cast  its  shadow  before 
it  and  over  her  very  early  in  the  Revolution.  M.  de  Mont 
morin  perished  in  the  September  massacres.  She  and  one 
son  died  on  the  scaffold.  One  daughter  died  in  prison, 
and  Madame  de  Beaumont  died  of  grief.  "After  dining 
with  the  Montmorins,"  Morris  continues,  "  among  other 
things  I  speak  to  monsieur  of  M.  de  Moustier.  Tell  him 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  139 

confidentially  that  he  is  not  agreeable  to  the  people  of 
America,  and  that  he  must  send  us  such  a  man  as  the 
Chevalier  de  la  Luzerne.  He  tells  me  in  confidence  the 
person  he  intends  to  send  over,  but  makes  me  promise 
not  to  mention  it  to  anybody.  Visit  at  De  la  Luzerne's. 
He  reproves  me  for  not  dining  with  him.  I  find  he  is 
taking  a  great  deal  of  pains  to  show  that  he  is  well  with  M. 
Necker,  which  proves  beyond  all  things  to  me  the  prepon 
derance  which  Necker  will  have  in  the  council.  I  presume 
the  place  of  Garde  des  Sceaux  is  kept  vacant  until  his 
pleasure  shall  be  known."  Later  in  the  evening,  "visit 
Madame  de  Tesse.  She  is  deeply  engaged  in  a  political 
discussion.  I  find  that  the  high  democrats  begin  to  cool 
a  little,  and  I  think  that  by  degrees  they  will  feel,  though 
they  would  not  understand  reason." 

Morris  had  been  requested  by  a  member  of  the  States- 
General  to  "  throw  together  some  thoughts  respecting 
the  constitution  of  this  country.  I  am  occupied  all  Sat 
urday  morning  [July  24th],  in  this  work.  While  I  am 
about  it,  Dr.  McDonald  comes  in.  I  read  to  him  what  I 
have  written,  and  see  him  forcibly  struck  with  the  thoughts 
and  with  the  manner.  This  serves  as  an  evidence  to  me 
that  there  is  some  weight  and  truth  in  my  observations." 

The  following  evening  (July  25th)  he  dined  with  Mr. 
Jefferson,  who  gave  him  several  letters  of  introduction  for 
use  in  London,  and  a  passport.  Sunday  morning  (July 
26th),  he  received  a  note  "from  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who 
has  something  to  communicate.  Visit  her  at  one.  She 
desires  to  know  whether  I  will  go  to  Versailles  to  confer 
with  the  committee  who  are  to  report  a  constitution.  She 
is  charged  by  one  of  them  to  make  this  request.  I  reply 
that  if  it  will  not  delay  my  departure  for  London  I  shall 
consult,  conceiving  it  my  duty  to  render  any  service  I 
can  to  this  country.  I  explain  to  her  the  paper  written 


yesterday,  that  she  may  translate  it  afterwards.  Have  a 
little  chit-chat,  and  dine  with  her  partie  carree,  and  after 
wards  drive  and  walk  in  the  Bois  de  Boulogne.  Received 
while  I  was  dressing  a  note  from  Madame  de  Chastellux, 
desiring  me  to  interest  Lafayette  in  favor  of  a  protege  of  her 
late  husband,  who  wants  to  be  placed  in  the  Regiment  Natio 
nal.  At  five  go  by  appointment  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's. 
She  is  at  her  toilette.  Monsieur  comes  in.  She  dresses 
before  us  with  perfect  decency,  even  to  her  shift.  Mon 
sieur  leaves  us  to  make  a  long  visit,  and  we  are  to  occupy 
ourselves  in  making  a  translation." 

"  See  Lafayette  to-day  [July  28th],  to  ask  a  commission 
for  the  protege  of  Madame  de  Chastellux,  and  I  desire 
him  to  give  the  King  some  consolation  which  may  make 
him  easy,  as  it  is  of  the  last  importance  to  France.  I 
cannot  tell  him  my  reasons,  because  they  are  founded 
on  a  secret  intrusted  to  me,  but  I  am  most  serious.  As 
we  cannot  have  conversation  now,  he  desires  me  to  dine 
with  him.  Return  home  and  set  about  the  translation  of 
what  I  wrote  yesterday  afternoon.  Interrupted  by  visit 
ors.  As  soon  as  completed,  go  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's. 
Monsieur  not  gone,  as  was  intended,  to  Versailles.  This 
is  unfortunate.  He  comes  in  and  chats  a  while,  but  it  is 
clear  that  he  means  to  give  us  the  pleasure  of  his  com 
pany,  that  we  may  not  have  the  pleasure  of  his  absence. 
This  is  very  absurd.  People  who  wish  to  please  should 
never  be  troublesome.  Go  to  Madame  de  Fouquet's.  A 
lively  conversation  ;  pressed  to  stay  to  dinner.  Cannot. 
Promise  on  my  return  to  visit  her  immediately.  Make 
various  visits,  and  go  to  M.  de  Lafayette's  and  dine.  After 
dinner  mention  again  M.  Martin's  affair,  and  he  prom 
ises  to  do  all  in  his  power.  Urge  again  the  taking  meas 
ures  to  put  the  King  at  ease  (note — Madame  de  Flahaut 
gave  me  yesterday  the  communication),  upon  which  he  is 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  141 

desirous  of  knowing  my  reasons.  I  tell  him  that  they  arise 
from  a  secret  communication,  therefore  cannot  go  farther. 
Propose  an  association  to  protect  the  Prince,  and  to  de 
clare  those  who  may  insult  him  enemies,  both  public  and 
private.  Propose  a  plan  to  get  rid  of  the  difficulty  of  the 
Assemblee  Nationale,  which  is  bound  not  to  tax  till  the 
constitution  is  completed,  and  which  is  pressed  in  conse 
quence  for  time.  Then  urge  strongly  the  danger  of  a  con 
stitution  too  democratical,  and  leave  him.  Go  to  Madame 
de  Segur's  ;  take  leave,  with  an  engagement  to  correspond 
together  ;  thence  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  Monsieur  is 
there,  and  Vicq  d'Azyr,  the  Queen's  head  physician.  The 
latter  goes  away  presently.  The  former  is  called  down, 
and  she  communicates  a  request  for  my  thoughts  on  the 
subject  of  education  for  the  French.  Monsieur  enters — 
again  is  obliged  to  go  abroad.  This  is  right.  Take  sup 
per  with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Some  conversation  with 
her  and  Monsieur,  who  returns,  which  is  on  the  interest 
ing  subject  of  their  public  affairs.  He  seems  well  pleased 
with  me,  which  is  uncommon.  Make  arrangements  for  a 
correspondence  with  Madame." 

All  preparations  for  the  journey  to  London  were  fi 
nally  completed — except  the  passport — to  obtain  which 
required  a  visit  to  Lafayette  at  the  Hotel  de  Ville.  "I 
do  this,"  Morris  says,  "on  the  principle  that  if  I  do  not 
take  care  of  my  own  business,  I  cannot  expect  anyone 
else  to  do  it  for  me.  Mankind  are  in  the  constant  prac 
tice  of  believing  in  the  attention  of  others,  and  of  neglect 
ing  those  who  believe  in  them.  //  faut  fare  juste.  I  find 
that  I  was  right.  At  the  Hotel  de  Ville  there  are  a  world 
of  difficulties,  but  they  are  at  length  all  surmounted. 
From  thence  I  go  to  take  leave  of  Madame  de  Flahaut, 
and  thence  to  Madame  de  Corney  ;  a  number  of  gentle  re 
proaches  for  neglecting  her,  which  I  had  well  merited." 


The  next  day,  with  post  books  and  maps,  Morris  started 
on  his  journey.  Outside  of  Paris  many  convoys  of  wheat 
and  flour  going  to  Paris,  escorted  by  troops,  and  large 
droves  of  cattle  and  pigs,  which  he  mentions  as  being 
"  the  worst  formed  animals  I  ever  saw  ;  long,  narrow,  and 
meagre,  they  seem  more  fitted  for  the  race  than  the  table," 
had  possession  of  most  of  the  road.  The  weather  was  fine, 
and  "  the  mind  and  eye,"  he  says,  "are  delighted  by  the 
exuberance  of  the  approaching  harvest."  At  the  entrance 
to  Dieppe  a  number  of  questions  were  asked,  owing 
to  the  fact  of  a  number  of  refugees  having  lately  passed 
into  England.  While  waiting  for  a  calm  sea  and  a  favor 
ing  wind  to  take  him  to  the  shores  of  England,  Morris 
availed  himself  of  the  opportunity  of  a  vessel  sailing  di 
rect  to  New  York,  to  write  to  Washington  an  account  of  re 
cent  events  at  Paris.  He  told  him  as  private  news  that 
"the  Comte  de  Moustier  has  his  conge  and  Colonel 
Ternant  will  be  his  successor  as  charge  d'affaires,  and 
possibly  as  minister  later.  The  important  trait  in  this  ap 
pointment  is  that  he  is  named  as  a  person  who  will  be 
agreeable  to  us.  You  may  rely  on  what  I  am  about  to 
mention,  but  which  I  pray  you  not  to  disclose.  It  is 
known  to  very  few  in  this  country,  and  may  perhaps  (as  it 
ought)  be  buried  in  oblivion.  The  King  has  actually 
formed  the  design  of  going  off  to  Spain.  Whether  the 
measures  set  on  foot  to  dissuade  him  will  have,  as  I  hope, 
the  desired  effect,  time  only  can  discover.  His  fears  govern 
him  absolutely,  and  they  have  of  late  been  most  strongly 
excited.  He  is  a  well-meaning  man,  but  extremely  weak, 
and  probably  these  circumstances  will  in  every  event  se 
cure  him  from  personal  injury.  An  able  man  would  not 
have  fallen  into  his  situation,  but  I  think  that  no  ability  can 
now  extricate  him.  He  must  float  along  on  the  current  of 
events,  being  absolutely  a  cypher.  If,  however,  he  should 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  143 

fly,  it  will  not  be  easy  to  predict  the  consequences,  for 
this  country  is  at  present  as  near  to  anarchy  as  society 
can  approach  without  dissolution.  There  are  some  able 
men  in  the  National  Assembly,  yet  the  best  heads  among 
them  would  not  be  injured  by  experience,  and  unfortu 
nately  there  are  a  good  number  who,  with  much  imagina 
tion,  have  little  knowledge,  judgment,  or  reflection.  You 
may  consider  the  revolution  as  complete  ;  that  is  to  say,  the 
authority  of  the  King  and  of  the  nobility  is  completely 
subdued,  but  yet  I  tremble  for  the  constitution.  They 
have  all  that  romantic  spirit,  and  all  those  romantic  ideas 
of  government  which,  happily  for  America,  we  were  cured 
of  before  it  was  too  late.  They  are  advancing  rapidly.  I 
pass  over  those  facts  which  you  cannot  but  know,  to  men 
tion  in  one  word  that  the  whole  army  of  France  have  de 
clared  for  liberty,  and  that  one  reason  why  His  Majesty  has 
not  taken  the  step  above  mentioned  is  that  he  does  not 
know  a  single  regiment  that  would  obey  him." 

The  usual  vicissitudes  of  weather  and  the  usual  discom 
forts  of  the  Channel  awaited  Morris  when  he  started  for 
England  on  the  ist  of  August,  and  it  was  not  until  the  3d 
that  he  finally  landed  at  Brighthelmstone.  Three  miles 
from  shore  the  vessel  was  met  by  a  small  boat,  and  the 
passengers  were  landed  on  the  beach,  and  "got  on  shore 
dry,  a  thing  which  does  not  always  happen,"  he  says. 
Lodgings  were  difficult  to  find  owing  to  the  races,  and 
the  traveller  did  not  linger  longer  than  to  notice  that  the 
"cleanliness  of  the  place  forms  a  reverse  of  the  place  I 
quitted  yesterday,  although  that  is  the  cleanest  town, 
except  Versailles,  I  have  seen  in  France."  After  many 
detentions  and  failures  to  provide  post-horses,  the  races 
at  Lewes  being  the  absorbing  interest  of  the  moment, 
Morris  at  length  started  for  London.  "  In  descending  a 
hill,"  he  says,  "we  arrive  at  a  seat  of  Lord  Abergavenny. 


The  old  castle,  which  was  once,  I  suppose,  the  residence 
of  the  feudal  tyrant  of  this  soil,  becomes  now  simply  an 
object  of  ornament  to  the  grounds.  The  house  is  neat, 
and  the  clumps  of  trees  which  are  strewed  upon  the  wav 
ing  ground  of  vivid  green  derive  an  additional  beauty  by 
contrast.  At  Croydon  they  are  holding  the  sessions,  so 
that  we  have  great  difficulty  to  get  anything.  In  the  last 
ten  miles  I  see  some  fine  forest-trees,  but  not  before. 
Those  which  had  met  my  view  were  small  and  low,  so  that 
I  actually,  in  one  instance,  took  the  forest  for  a  large 
orchard  till  I  came  very  near.  I  have  as  yet  seen  no  land 
in  Europe  equal  to  our  best  soil  in  America,  and  very  lit 
tle  as  good  as  our  second  quality.  All  the  difference  of 
product  arises  from  culture.  With  perpetual  rains  they 
have  but  little  water,  and,  to  my  great  surprise,  in  this  hilly 
country,  I  have  found  no  springs  or  rivulets." 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS,  145 


London.  The  Haymarket  Theatre.  The  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne.  Trum- 
bull.  The  refugees.  Lady  Dunmore.  The  Cosways.  Hon.  Mrs. 
Darner.  Society  duties.  Strictures  on  society.  Sail  on  the  Thames. 
Downe  Place.  Returns  to  Paris.  Critical  state  of  affairs.  Madame 
de  Tesse.  Lafayette.  Public  opinion  sets  against  the  National  As 
sembly.  Finances.  Scarcity  of  bread.  The  Flanders  Regiment* 
Social  life.  Prepares  a  memorandum  on  subsistence.  The  queen. 
Madame  de  Flahaut.  The  banners  blessed.  The  opera.  Resistance 
to  authority  among  the  bakers.  Versailles.  Question  on  the  finances. 
Mirabeau  speaks  in  the  Assembly.  Meets  Madame  de  Stael. 
Conversation  with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  Asked  to  furnish  flour  for 

AS  the  traveller  neared  London,  the  absence  of  "  those 
fine  trees  which  give,"  he  says,  "  an  air  of  mag 
nificence  to  the  approaches  to  Paris "  surprised  him. 
"  The  last  stage  brings  me  to  the  Adelphi  Hotel,  and 
early  next  morning  Mr.  Parker  comes  to  breakfast.  He 
is  to  get  me  good  lodgings  and  a  chariot,  and  will  send 
out  his  servant  for  these  purposes  while  I  dress.  He  has 
found  lodgings,  according  to  Mr.  Parker's  directions,  in 
the  same  street  with  him.  Cela  s'entend.  Do  not  observe 
it,  even  by  a  look.  The  dealer  in  carriages  enters,  and  we 
agree  for  a  carriage  and  horses,  which  will  cost  me  four 
guineas  a  week,  besides  a  shilling  a  day  for  board  wages 
for  the  coachman.  This  is  pretty  well.  Go  to  look  at  the 
lodgings.  They  are  very  indifferent,  at  two  guineas  per 
week.  Go  from  thence  to  Frome's  Hotel,  Covent  garden, 
where  I  take  rooms  at  six  shillings  per  day,  and  one  shil 
ling  for  my  servant.  This  is  dear  ;  however,  it  will  do  till 



I  can  get  in  a  better  position.  After  dinner  Mr.  Parker 
goes  with  me  to  the  Haymarket  Theatre.  This,  it  seems, 
is  a  benefit  night.  The  pieces  and  performers,  one  only 
excepted,  are  alike  wretched.  From  the  applause  lavished 
by  the  audience  I  am  led  to  question  their  taste,  or  give 
entirely  up  my  own.  In  the  box  adjoining  to  us  is  Lady 
Dunmore  and  family.  With  the  aid  of  rouge  she  looks  as 
well,  I  think,  as  when  I  saw  her  in  America,  near  twenty 
years  ago,  and  then  she  was  pretty  well  advanced,  and 
rather  to  be  admired  for  grace  than  beauty." 

A  visit  to  the  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne,  *  the  French  am 
bassador,  was  among  his  first  duties.  "  His  reception," 
Morris  says,  "  is  perfectly  good."  The  next  visit  was  one  of 
business,  to  Mr.  Bourdieu.  "  I  talk  to  him  about  a  loan. 
He  tells  me  that  nothing  of  that  kind  can  be  done  in  the  city; 
that  perhaps  I  may  meet  with  people  at  the  west  end  of 
the  town  who  are  better  disposed,  but  that  the  name  of 
America  terrifies  the  mercantile  part  of  the  community. 
I  receive  some  letters  here,  but  none  from  Holland,  so  that 
I  cannot  go  to  work  for  relief  of  Robert  Morris's  affairs. 
Madame  de  Flahaut,  in  a  letter,  gives  me  an  account  of 
poor  Besenval's  capture  and  detention." 

Next  day  (August  jth)  he  goes  to  see  R.  Penn,  who  re 
ceives  him  quite  en  famille.  "  He  tells  me  the  state  of  the 
family  claims  and  his  own,  and  desires  me  to  consider 
myself  at  home  at  his  house.  Call  on  Sir  John  Sinclair  f 
at  Whitehall.  He  is  out  of  town.  Later  go  to  dine  with 
the  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne  ;  several  of  the  Corps  Diploma 
tique.  The  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne  informs  me  of  the  or- 

*  Anne  Cesar,  Chevalier  de  la  Luzerne,  ambassador  to  London  in  1788. 
He  had  been  sent  in  1779  to  the  United  States  as  minister,  and,  without  in 
structions  from  his  government,  performed  the  responsible  duties  of  the  posi 
tion  with  credit.  He  died  at  London  in  1791. 

t  Sir  John  Sinclair  originated  the  Board  of  Agriculture,  and  wrote  many 
valuable  books,  essays  on  agriculture,  etc. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  147 

ganization  of  their  ministry :  M.  de  la  Tour  du  Pin,  Min 
ister  of  War  ;  1'Archeveque  of  Bordeaux,  Garde  des 
Sceaux,  which  Malesherbes  refused.  I  am  sorry  for  this 
refusal  Tell  the  Marquis  that  I  understood  the  Bishop 
of  Autun  was  thought  of  for  it.  He  says  that  he  has  not 
the  right  kind  of  head  for  this  office.  Thence  I  conclude 
that  he  is  rather  visionary  in  his  ideas,  and  perhaps  he  is, 
for  that  is  the  common  misfortune  of  men  of  genius  who 
do  not  sufficiently  mix  in  the  affairs  of  the  world." 

"To-day  [August  8thJ  I  call  on  Mr.  Trumbull  the  painter. 
He  shows  me  a  small  piece  he  has  copied  from  his  original 
Sortie  of  Gibraltar,  which  I  think  very  fine.  Return  home 
and  dine  on  a  composition  called  turtle-soup,  with  which 
I  drink  a  composition  called  claret.  The  latter  is  prefer 
able  to  the  former."  To  the  refugees  who  were  always 
to  be  found  in  considerable  numbers  in  the  drawing-rooms 
of  the  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne,  Morris  tried  to  admin 
ister  a  little  comfort.  He  says  of  them  :  "  The  refugees 
talk  a  little  refugee,  which  is  natural.  I  tell  them  that  all 
the  little  commotions — burning  castles,  etc. — though  pain 
ful  and  distressing,  are  but  specks  in  the  great  business, 
and  will  if  they  get  a  good  constitution  be  soon  forgotten. 
M.  de  Fitzjames  inquires  of  me  the  news  from  Paris, 
but  I  find  that  we  left  it  about  the  same  time.  I  did  not 
recollect  him,  but  it  seems  that  we  had  met  at  club.  The 
Marquis  de  la  Luzerne  takes  me  aside,  and  we  converse  a 
little  on  their  politics.  I  think  his  object  is  merely  to  show 
an  attention  before  his  company  which  may  be  useful  to 
me.  In  going  in  to  dinner  M.  Gate,  the  Lieutenant  de 
Police,  takes  hold  of  me,  and  says  he  will  not  be  parted. 
Seats  himself  next  me,  and  at  dinner  tells  me  his  story. 
All  this  requires  polite  attention  on  my  part,  which  is  paid. 
Dine  on  a  very  fine  trout,  or  rather  a  part  of  one,  which  I 
think  must  have  weighed  about  eight  pounds.  Observe 


that  I  am  somewhat  a  favorite  with  Madame  la  Vicomtesse. 
This  must  be  kept  up, ' et  pour  cause.  Inquiries  are  made, 
I  find,  by  Lady  Dunmore  and  her  daughter  about  the 
jambe  de  bois.  Lady  Dunmore  makes  acquaintance  after 
dinner  ;  asks  the  opinion  of  my  countrymen  about  his  lord 
ship  ;  I  tell  her  candidly.  We  have  a  conversation  which 
she  is  pleased  with,  and  to  my  surprise,  and  I  dare  say  her 
own,  we  are  on  terms  of  great  familiarity.  La  Luzerne 
and  Capellis,  I  find,  remark  on  it,  so  that  I  am  obliged  to 
join  them  and  stop  the  laugh.  The  French  tell  him  a 
world  of  wonders  and  confusions,  upon  which  I  take  him 
aside  and  tell  him  to  believe  nothing  of  what  they  say ; 
that  it  is  refugee  news,  and  he  knows  well  what  sort  of 
thing  that  is.  The  Princesse  Galitzen,  who  shares  in  the 
conversation  with  Lady  Dunmore,  is,  I  find,  like  others  to 
tally  mistaken  with  respect  to  the  troubles  in  France.  They 
all  supposed,  as  was  supposed  in  the  American  Revolution, 
that  there  are  certain  leaders  who  occasion  everything, 
whereas  in  both  instances  it  is  the  great  mass  of  the  peo 
ple.  At  going  away  her  ladyship  thanks  me  for  answer 
ing  her  questions." 

Among  other  letters,  Morris  had  one  to  Mrs.  Cosway, 
the  wife  of  the  distinguished  miniature-painter.  By  ap 
pointment,  one  evening  was  spent  in  her  drawing-rooms, 
where  were  a  "very  genteel  company,"  he  says,  "  the 
Dowager  Duchess  of  Bedford  among  them.  Music  very 
good.  The  arrangement  of  the  company,  however,  is 
stiff  and  formal.  There  must  be  in  this,  as  in  other  coun 
tries,  the  ways  of  bringing  people  together,  even  to  in 
timacy,  but  it  appears  at  the  first  aspect  to  be  rather 
difficult.  We  shall  see.  I  observe  to  the  Hon.  Mrs.  Da 
rner  *  that  the  French,  having  no  liberty  in  their  govern- 

*  Anne  Seymour  Darner,  the  sculptress,  was  born  in  1748,  and  was  the  only 
child  of  Field  Marshal  Conway.     Her  family  connections  were  of  the  very 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  149 

ment,  have  compensated  to  themselves  that  misfortune 
by  bestowing  a  great  deal  upon  society  ;  but  that  I  fear 
in  England  it  is  confined  to  the  House  of  Commons.  She 
seems  to  suppose  the  latter  part  of  this  observation  ironi 
cal,  and  tells  me,  with  an  animated  smile,  that  we  enjoy 
liberty  in  my  country.  This  lady  is  a  great  statuary,  and 
is  doing  the  King.  Quaere,  if  she  copies  after  nature,  for 
she  does  it  as  large  as  life.  Her  taste  is  justly  considered 
as  extraordinary,  but  I  doubt  whether  she  is  the  single 
instance  within  these  three  kingdoms  of  a  fair  one  who 
keeps  at  home  a  block  to  work  upon.  Visit  at  the  assem- 
blee  of  Madame  de  la  Luzerne.  The  Duke  and  Duchess 
of  Luxemburg  are  there,  and  the  Duke  and  Duchess  of 
Leeds.  After  some  time  the  Duke  of  Leeds  makes  up 
and  inquires  of  Mr.  Adams.  A  light  conversation  ensues. 
After  the  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Leeds  retire,  Lady  Dun- 
more,  whom  I  had  seen  at  Mrs.  Cosway's,  comes  in.  A 
little  sociable  chat  in  the  small  circle  until  late." 

Together  with  his  very  important  and  difficult  business 
affairs,  Morris  found  that  his   rapidly   increasing   society 

best  blood  in  England,  and  her  birth  and  beauty  entitled  her  to  a  life  of  ease 
and  luxury,  but  she  early  developed  a  taste  for  art  and  studies,  which  taste 
her  cousin,  Horace  Walpole,  took  great  pleasure  in  directing.  David  Hume 
seems  to  have  given  her  the  first  impulse  toward  the  art  of  sculpture  when, 
on  one  occasion,  while  walking  together,  they  met  a  vender  of  plaster  casts. 
Hume  stopped  to  speak  to  the  lad,  looked  at  his  wares,  and  gave  him  a  shil 
ling.  The  lively  Miss  Conway  laughed  at  him  for  wasting  time  on  such  pal 
try  images  ;  whereupon  the  historian  gently  reproved  her,  telling  her  not  to 
be  so  severe,  that  it  had  required  both  science  and  genius  to  make  even  such 
poor  imitations,  and,  he  continued,  "with  all  your  attainments  you  cannot 
produce  such  works."  After  this  conversation  she  set  herself  to  model  in 
wax,  and  finally  to  cut  the  marble.  Mrs.  Damer  was  one  of  the  trio  of  beau 
tiful  women  who  canvassed  London  during  the  bitterly  contested  election  of 
Charles  James  Fox  for  Westminster.  On  the  death  of  Horace  Walpole  Mrs. 
Damer  found  herself  the  possessor  of  his  Gothic  villa  at  Strawberry  Hill,  and 
here,  amid  the  splendid  confusion  of  things  valuable  and  otherwise,  and  sur 
rounded  by  her  chosen  companions,  Mrs.  Berry,  Mrs  Garrick,  Mrs.  Siddons, 
and,  last  but  not  least,  Joanna  Baillie,  she  passed  the  last  years  of  her  life. 
She  died  in  her  eightieth  year,  after  an  eventful  and  interesting  career. 

I  50  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  VII. 

duties  kept  him  more  than  agreeably  occupied.  "  From 
the  necessity  of  being  my  own  clerk,"  as  he  wrote  to 
Robert  Morris,  August  26th,  "and  the  interruptions  to 
which  I  am  constantly  exposed,  you  will  easily  perceive 
that  my  moments  are  few  and  precious.  Indeed,  in  the 
way  I  now  live,  I  might  pass  five  years  in  London  and  yet 
know  but  little  more  of  it  than  when  I  left  Philadelphia." 
He  regretted  much  that  he  had  been  able  to  make  so 
little  progress  in  Mr.  Robert  Morris's  affairs.  "  But  I 
have  had,"  he  wrote,  "  the  wind  ahead  of  me  ever  since  I 
left  the  Capes  of  Delaware.  It  will  be  favorable  by  and 

The  London  "  rout  "  was  evidently  not  in  accord  with 
Morris's  taste,  and  he  expresses  an  ever-fresh  astonish 
ment  at  the  stiffness  of  the  drawing-rooms  and  the  la 
dies.  "  I  go  to-night  to  Mrs.  Cosway's,"  he  says.  "  She  is 
vastly  pleasant,  but  her  ladies  are  all  ranged  in  battalia 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  room.  Discuss  a  little  with 
her  .the  froideur  anglaise,  and,  while  she  is  in  conversation 
with  them,  throw  the  pith  of  that  discussion  into  these 
stanzas,  which  I  leave  with  her,  being  a  kind  of  address 
to  the  ladies. 

By  nature's  various  beauty  blest, 

Ah  !   why  your  wealth  conceal, 
And  why,  in  cold  indifference  drest, 

Her  blessings  not  reveal? 

Vast  treasures  in  a  heart  confined 

No  pleasures  can  impart ; 
And  so  the  treasures  of  the  mind, 

And  feelings  of  the  heart. 

Your  conversation,  like  your  coin, 

Is  gold,  but  yet  'tis  strange 
How  oft,  when  social  circles  join, 

You  want  a  little  change. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  I5l 

Observe  that  she  is  about  to  communicate  this  for  their 
edification,  and  therefore  take  Capellis  off  with  me." 

Notwithstanding  the  multiplicity  of  his  engagements, 
Morris  found  time  to  see  a  few  of  the  sights  of  London. 
He  speaks  of  taking  a  wherry  at  Westminster  Bridge  and 
going  down  the  Thames.  "  The  Bridge  of  Blackfriars  is 
crumbling  to  pieces,  and  London  Bridge  does  not  seem 
formed  in  a  manner  to  last  forever.  The  famous  building 
of  Somerset  House,  which  I  had  heard  vaunted  highly, 
seems  to  be  built  in  a  paltry  style,  and  the  front  of  stone 
accords  but  illy  with  the  sides  of  brick.  The  shipping  are 
the  really  curious  object  here.  These  give  to  the  reflect 
ing  mind  a  high  idea  of  the  commerce  and  wealth  of  this 
great  city.  Having  gone  down  to  the  farthest  of  those 
which  can  properly  be  said  to  lie  in  the  port  of  London, 
we  ascend  the  river  again  to  the  Tower  stairs,  where  my 
carriage  is  waiting.  The  wherries  of  this  river  are  admi 
rably  calculated  for  stemming  rapid  currents." 

A  visit  to  Downe  Place,  the  country-seat  of  John  B. 
Church,*  Member  of  Parliament  from  Wendover,  proved 
most  interesting.  One  day  (September  6th)  was  delight 
fully  employed  visiting  Herschel.  "  He  receives  us," 
Morris  says,  "  in  a  manner  which  is,  I  think,  peculiar  to 
men  of  his  kind  of  greatness  :  simplicity,  modesty,  mild 
ness.  He  shows  and  explains  his  great  telescope  ;  a 

*  John  B.  Church  had  been  Commissary-General  under  Lafayette  in  Amer 
ica  during  the  Revolution  ;  an  Englishman  of  very  high  social  position  and 
great  wealth,  he  made  himself  prominent  as  a  citizen  of  New  York,  and  while 
there  married  Miss  Angelica  Schuyler,  a  member  of  a  family  who  warmly  es 
poused  the  cause  of  America.  On  his  return  to  England  Mr.  Church  found 
himself  out  of  favor  with  the  Tories,  but  thoroughly  independent  in  politics  as 
in  purse,  he  soon  found  friends  among  the  Pitt  and  Fox  party,  and  was  elected 
to  Parliament  from  Wendover.  Mr.  Church's  house  in  London,  was  the 
frequent  resort  of  Pitt,  Fox,  and  Burke.  Talleyrand  sought  refuge  under 
his  roof,  and  through  Church's  exertions,  when  ordered  by  government  to 
leave  London  in  twenty-four  hours  Talleyrand  was  enabled  to  flee  to  America. 

152  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  VII. 

speculum  now  polishing  for  it  weighs  1,400  Ibs. — that 
in  present  use,  2,500.  The  polishing  at  present  is  per 
formed  by  a  machine,  but  formerly  it  was  done  by  hand, 
and  twenty-two  men  were  engaged  in  that  work  twenty 
weeks.  The  concavity  of  this  speculum  is  about  two- 
tenths  of  an  inch,  the  diameter  about  three  feet,  I  think. 
The  substance  is  a  composition  of  metals.  From  thence 
we  go  to  Windsor  Castle,"  the  view  from  which  especially 
impressed  him. 

Arrived  in  town  on  the  8th,  Mr.  Parker  communicated 
intelligence  which,  Morris  says,  "affects  deeply  our  plan 
about  the  purchase  of  the  American  debt  to  France.  I 
must  in  consequence  set  off  immediately  for  Paris."  For 
this  M.  de  la  Luzerne  provided  him  with  a  passport,  and 
Mrs.  Penn  gave  him  a  guinea  to  buy  rouge  for  her,  and 
on  Wednesday,  the  pth,  he  left  London.  This  return 
journey  was  made  by  the  way  of  Canterbury  and  Dover, 
at  which  place  he  arrived  on  the  loth,  and  hired  a  cutter 
to  take  him  across  the  channel.  "After  much  higgling," 
he  says,  "by  the  boatman  over  the  price,  and  having  got 
outside  the  harbor,  find  that  there  is  as  little  of  cleanliness 
as  of  morality  on  board.  At  eight  o'clock,  being  much  fa 
tigued,  I  go  below  and  lie  down  on  a  blanket  spread  on 
the  cabin  floor.  The  bed  is  hard  but  wholesome.  The 
vermin,  however,  have  not  yet  supped  and  I  must  furnish 
them  entertainment.  The  hope  of  slumber  is,  from  this 
and  other  circumstances,  soon  over."  By  two  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  however,  he  was  safely  on  shore  "at  a  clean 
house  and  between  clean  sheets  without  the  walls  of  Cal 
ais."  While  he  is  preparing  to  depart  thence  on  the  mor 
row,  "  a  friar  comes  in  to  beg,  with  an  air  that  shows  his 
conviction  how  improper  a  thing  it  is  to  lay  me  under  that 
kind  of  contribution.  I  tell  him  it  is  a  bad  trade  which 
he  follows,  and  that  I  understand  the  National  Assembly 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  I  S3 

are  about  to  reform  such  institutions.  He  has  heard  so, 
but  as  this  is  the  only  mode  they  have  to  get  a  living  they 
must  continue  at  it  as  long  as  possible.  I  give  a  shilling, 
and  in  return  for  the  usual  routine  of  good  wishes,  (which 
he  runs  over  with  the  same  easy  air  which  distinguished 
my  friend  Dr.  Cooper,  of  King's  College,  in  reading  the 
Litany)  I  wish  him  a  better  business.  This  wish  is  more 
sincere  than  his,  by  a  shilling  at  least.  At  eleven  leave 
Calais,  duly  provided  with  a  passport  from  the  new  gov 
ernment.  Cross  the  Oyse.  Near  Clermont,  on  its  banks, 
is  the  chateau  of  the  Due  de  Liancourt,  to  whose  inter 
position  is  attributed  the  timely  retreat  of  poor  Louis 
Seize  upon  the  taking  of  the  Bastille. 

"  Being  obliged  to  stop  at  Chantilly  to  repair  the  linch 
pin  of  the  carriage,  I  examine  the  stables  ;  a  magnificent 
habitation,  indeed,  for  twenty  dozen  horses,  who  have  the 
honor  to  dine  and  sup  at  the  expense  of  Monseigneur  le 
Prince  de  Conde.  From  thence  I  take  a  view  of  the  chateau 
on  the  outside,  but  have  not  time  for  examination.  It  must 
have  been  strong  before  the  invention  of  cannon.  At  pres 
ent  the  wide,  deep  fosse  which  surrounds  it,  and  which  is 
well  supplied  with  good  water,  furnishes  an  agreeable 
habitation  to  a  variety  of  carp,  white-spotted,  etc.,  who 
come  at  a  call  and  eat  the  bread  thrown  to  them.  My 
conductor  is  a  politician,  but  he  is  not  of  the  fashionable 
sect.  He  is  a  chasseur  of  the  Prince  and  finds  it  very 
wrong  *  que  tout  le  monde  ait  le  droit  de  chasser.'  On 
the  way  I  observe  a  very  uncommon  mode  of  hunting  par 
tridges.  The  chasseurs,  armed  with  clubs,  are  spread  every 
where  over  the  fields.  When  a  bird  lights,  it  is  pursued 
until  it  is  so  fatigued  it  falls  a  victim  to  pursuers.  Mar 
tin  thinks  it  is  a  sin  and  a  shame,  but  while  he  utters  his 
lamentations  the  postilion  turns  round  to  me  :  '  C'est  un 
beau  privilege  que  les  Francais  se  sont  acquis,  monsieur.' 

154  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  VII. 

*  Oui,  monsieur,  mais  il  me  parait  que  ce  privilege  ne 
vaudra  pas  autant  1'annee  prochaine.'  " 

"On  Tuesday  [September  i3th],  about  seven,  I  arrive  at 
the  Hotel  de  Richelieu,  at  Paris.  Dress  and  go  to  the  club. 
I  learn  that  the  Assemblee  Nationale  have  agreed  to  a  single 
chamber  of  legislation,  and  a  suspensive  veto  in  the  King. 
This  is  travelling  in  the  high-road  to  anarchy,  and  that 
worst  of  all  tyrannies,  the  despotism  of  a  faction  in  a  popu 
lar  assembly.  I  am  led  into  a  little  discussion  on  this 
subject,  and  stay  to  supper,  after  which  taste  some  Hun 
garian  wine  presented  by  a  Polish  colonel,  whose  name 
ends  with  'whisky,'  but  his  liquor  is  delicious.  By  one 
means  or  another  seven  bottles  are  consumed,  and  two 
more  being  ordered,  I  rise  and  declare  that  I  will  drink  no 
more,  which  puts  an  end  to  the  business.  The  Duke  of 
Orleans  comes  in  during  this  match,  and  from  some  little 
circumstances  I  perceive  that  I  may  be  well  acquainted 
with  his  Royal  Highness  if  I  please." 

"Writing  to-day  [September  i6th]  till  noon.  Then  call 
on  Mr.  Jefferson.  He  engages  me  to  dine  to-morrow  in 
company  with  the  Marquis  de  Lafayette  and  the  Due  de  la 
Rochefoucault.  I  then  start  for  Versailles,  and  call  on 
Madame  de  Tot.  She  is  at  her  toilette  but  visible.  Some 
conversation  on  their  affairs,  by  which  I  find  that  opinions 
change.  Return  to  M.  de  Montmorin's  to  dine.  Madame 
is  much  afflicted  by  the  state  of  affairs.  Madame  de  Segur 
comes  in  with  her  brothers.  She  is  in  great  anxiety  ;  ap 
prehends  that  the  King  will  fly.  I  tell  her  that  his  flight 
appears  impracticable.  She  thinks  it  will  set  Paris  in  a 
flame.  There  is  no  conjecturing  the  consequences.  A 
prince  so  weak  can  influence  very  little  either  by  his  pres 
ence  or  absence.  After  dinner  we  have  a  conversation  on 
politics  with  some  of  the  deputies,  in  which  P  endeavor  to 
show  them  the  absurdity  of  their  suspensive  veto,  and  the 


probable  tyranny  of  their  single  chamber.  I  had  better 
let  this  alone,  but  zeal  always  gets  the  better  of  prudence. 
M.  de  Montmorin  expresses  a  wish  to  see  me  often,  which 
I  promise,  but  think  it  will  not  be  possible  to  perform  this 

Calling  on  Madame  de  Montvoissieu,  he  found  her 
"  very  indignee"  and  adds  that  "  she,  as  well  as  Madame  de 
Segur,  wishes  to  be  in  America."  Thence  he  went  to  see 
Madame  de  Tesse.  "  She  is  a  convert  to  my  principles. 
We  have  a  gay  conversation  of  some  minutes  on  their  af 
fairs,  in  which  I  mingle  sound  maxims  of  government  with 
that  piquant  legerete  which  this  nation  delights  in.  I  am 
fortunate,  and  at  going  away  she  follows  me  and  insists 
that  I  dine  with  her  next  time  I  come  to  Versailles.  We  are 
vastly  gracious,  and  all  at  once,  in  a  serious  tone,  '  Mais 
attendez,  madame,  est-ce  que  je  suis  trop  aristocrate  ?' 
She  answers,  with  a  smile  of  gentle  humiliation,  '  Ah,  mon 
Dieu,  non.'  From  thence  I  regain  my  carriage,  to  go  to 
the  Assemblee  Nationale  to  find  De  Cantaleu.  While  wait 
ing  there  -I  see,  among  others,  young  Montmorency,  who 
takes  me  round  and  procures  admittance  to  the  gallery. 
Chance  places  me  next  to  Madame  Dumolley  and  Madame 
de  Cantaleu.  We  recognize  each  other  suddenly,  with  a 
very  pleasant  surprise.  Madame  Dumolley  asks  me  the 
question  which  I  have  already  been  obliged  to  answer  a 
hundred  times:  '  Et  que  disent  les  Anglais  de  nous  au- 
tres?'  With  a  significant  tone,  'Ah,  madame,  c'est  qu'ils 
raisonnent,  ces  messieurs-la!"' 

"  Dine  to-day  [September  iyth],  according  to  my  prom 
ise,  with  Mr.  Jefferson.  One  of  his  guests,  the  Due  de  la 
Rochefoucault,  is  just  come  from  the  States-General,  and 
at  half-past  four  Lafayette  arrives.  He  tells  us  that  some 
of  the  troops  under  his  command  were  about  to  march  to 
morrow  to  Versailles  to  urge  the  decisions  of  the  States- 


General.  This  is  a  rare  situation,  for  which  they  must 
thank  themselves.  I  ask  him  if  his  troops  will  obey  him. 
He  says  they  will  not  mount  guard  when  it  rains,  but  he 
thinks  they  will  readily  follow  him  into  action.  I  incline 
to  think  that  he  will  have  an  opportunity  of  making  the 
experiment.  Mention  to  him  my  desire  to  confer  on  the 
subject  of  subsistence.  He  says  I  must  come  and  dine 
with  him  ;  but  this  is  idle,  if  I  am  rightly  informed,  because 
he  generally  has  a  crowd  and  is  but  few  minutes  at  home. 
After  dinner  go  to  the  club.  The  opinions  are  changing 
fast,  and  in  a  very  little  time,  if  the  Assemblee  Nationale 
continue  their  present  career,  a  majority  of  this  nation 
will,  I  think,  be  opposed  to  them.  Their  adherents,  how 
ever,  are  zealous,  and  if  a  civil  war  does  not  take  place  it 
must  be  from  some  circumstance  which  escapes  my  con 
jecture.  There  is,  indeed,  one  thing  which  promises  peace  ; 
viz.,  that  from  the  King's  feebleness  of  character  nobody 
can  trust  themselves  to  him  or  risk  themselves  in  support 
of  his  authority.  But  if  he  escapes  from  Versailles  and 
falls  into  different  hands  from  those  now  about  him  there 
must  be  a  struggle.  A  slight  circumstance  will  show  how 
well  the  present  rulers  are  fitted  to  conduct  the  affairs  of 
this  kingdom.  Lafayette  is  very  anxious  about  the  scarc 
ity  of  bread,  and  holds  out  that  circumstance  for  conversa 
tion  and  discussion.  The  Due  de  la  Rochefoucault  there 
upon  tells  us  of  some  one  who  has  written  an  excellent 
book  upon  the  commerce  of  grain."* 

It  would  be  unnecessary  to  enlarge  here  upon  the  unique, 
and  at  the  same  time  pathetic,  impulse  of  the  nobles  in  the 
Assembly  at  Versailles  on  the  night  of  the  4th  of  August. 
It  seemed  a  sudden  awakening  to  a  sense  of  love  and  jus 
tice,  and  a  devastating  battle  ensued  between  self-interest, 
the  traditions  of  years,  and  the  great  inspiration  which, 

*  The  Abbe  Galiani,  who  wrote  the  Dialogues  sur  le  Commerce  des  Bles. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  1 57 

born  in  that  moment,  threw  a  lurid  light  upon  the  rotten 
ness  of  the  feudal  system  and  the  pressing  needs  of  the 
people.  The  decrees  and  regulations  which  followed  the 
resolutions  of  that  night  are  matters  of  history.  Taine 
says  they  were  but  so  many  spiders'  webs  stretched  across 
a  torrent.  There  was  excitement  and  joy  in  the  ranks  of 
the  mob,  but  deep  depression  and  gloom  followed  the  al 
most  hysterical  generosity  and  self-abnegating  spirit  of  the 
nobles  during  that  memorable  night.  Louis  XVI.  ap 
peared  to  receive  with  gratitude  the  title  of  Restorer  of 
French  Liberty,  which  after  much  wrangling  was  offered 
to  him  en  masse  by  the  Assembly,  on  the  i3th  of  August. 
They  chanted  a  Te  Deum  and  struck  off  a  medal,  but  the 
homage  offered  reduced  to  nothing  the  kingly  power. 

''To-night  [September  iSth]  at  the  club,  where  I  take 
supper,  the  king's  letter  to  the  Assembly  on  the  subject  of 
the  resolutions  of  the  nobles  on  the  famous  Fourth  of 
August  is  introduced.  It  is  very  moderate  and,  like  the 
rest  of  M.  Necker's  writings,  too  long  and  flowery,  but  it 
will  excite  much  sensation,  I  believe.  It  holds  out  the 
idea  of  retreating  if  pushed  hard,  which  is  a  sort  of  invita 
tion  to  the  aggressor.  But  one  thing  that  perhaps  the 
ministers  are  not  aware  of  is,  that  from  this  moment  the 
King  will  derive  force  from  every  instance  of  disrespect 
which  is  shown  to  him.  Nothing  can  save  the  National 
Assembly  but  modesty  and  humility,  their  share  of  which 
is  not  too  abundant.  The  current  of  opinion  begins  to 
set  strong  against  the  Assemblee  Nationale.  Many  who 
looked  on  with  anxious  silence  six  weeks  ago  now  speak 
out,  and  loudly." 

Again,  at  this  time,  Morris  pressed  on  Lafayette  the 
question  of  subsistence  for  the  army.  But  he  was  slow 
to  make  arrangements,  and  complaints  came  to  Morris  of 
failures  on  Lafayette's  part  to  keep  promises.  He  says  of 


him  :  "  I  have  known  my  friend  Lafayette  now  for  many 
years,  andean  estimate  at  the  just  value  both  his  words  and 
his  actions.  If  the  clouds  which  now  lower  should  be 
dissipated  without  a  storm,  he  will  be  infinitely  indebted 
to  fortune  ;  but  if  it  happen  otherwise,  the  world  must 
pardon  much  on  the  score  of  intention.  He  means  ill  to 
no  one,  but  he  has  the  besoin  debriller.  He  is  very  much 
below  the  business  he  has  undertaken,  and  if  the  sea  runs 
high  he  will  be  unable  to  hold  the  helm." 

Necker  had  declared  in  August  that  the  treasury  was 
empty.  The  Due  d'Aiguillon  showed  among  the  expenses 
of  the  State,  the  debts  of  the  Count  d'Artois  alone,  which 
amounted  to  one  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  francs  :  the 
items — gardens,  horses,  dogs,  and  mistresses.  The  August 
and  September  receipts  were  thirty-seven,  and  the  expen 
ditures  seventy  millions.  The  finances  were  at  the  mo 
ment  the  all-absorbing  topic  of  conversation.  "At  the 
club  to-day  [September  2oth]  they  are  in  violent  discus 
sion  about  the  finances,  which  seem  to  be  going  fast  to 
the  devil.  Opinions  are  changing  fast,  and  in  about  fif 
teen  days  we  shall  hear  somewhat  of  the  sentiment  the 
provinces  entertain  of  their  present  rulers." 

These  last  days  of  September  were  full  of  terror.  There 
was  no  money,  and  there  was  no  bread.  At  Versailles  the 
king,  and  those  in  authority  under  him,  struggled  feebly 
to  meet  the  emergency,  with  what  success  the  horrors  of 
the  5th  of  October  give  a  melancholy  proof.  At  Paris 
the  mob  struggled  against  hunger  and  misery,  and  died  in 
the  struggle.  In  the  midst  of  their  trouble  they  were  told 
that  the  king,  whom  they  looked  on  as  their  only  friend, 
was  to  be  taken  to  Metz.  Simultaneously  the  streets  filled 
with  foreign  uniforms.  Green  trimmed  with  red,  and  black 
cockades  were  seen.  Enemies  seemed  to  encompass  Paris. 
There  was  movement  and  excitement  everywhere  ;  a  cer- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  159 

tain  ominous  agitation  as  of  impending  peril.  Since  the 
i5th  of  September  some  members  of  the  Assembly  had 
known,  through  warning  letters,  that  the  5th  of  October 
was  fixed  for  a  decisive  blow.  On  the  i8th  came  the  news 
of  the  inarch  of  the  Garde  Francaise  to  Versailles  ;  on 
the  23d  the  Flanders  Regiment  arrived.  Meanwhile  the 
other  life  of  Paris  went  on.  The  gayety  seemed  to  grow 
more  giddy  and  reckless,  as  if  impelled  by  some  unseen 
force  to  its  destruction.  "Indeed,"  Morris  says,  "pleas 
ure  is  the  great  business  ;  everybody  has  his  country-seat, 
and  comes  to  town  to  do  business  once  in  three  or  four 
days,  and  then  works  not  to  finish  but  to  get  rid  of  work, 
that  he  may  again  go  out  of  town,  making  business  deal 
ings  with  them  extremely  uncertain."  People  dined  and 
drank  plentifully,  and  went  to  the  theatre  or  opera,  to 
forget  all  care.  Morris  mentions  Marmontel's  "  Didon," 
which,  he  says,  "is  given  as  well  as  an  opera  can  con 
veniently  be."  And  so  in  various  ways  society,  so  called, 
closed  its  eyes  to  what  was  enacting  in  real  life,  outside 
the  walls  of  the  theatre,  at  its  own  doors. 

In  the  midst  of  constant  and  varied  demands  upon  his 
time — for  the  fair  dames  of  Paris  were  exacting  of  the 
devotion  of  those  who  had  been  admitted  to  the  boudoir 
and  bedroom — Morris  found  time  to  prepare  for  M.  de 
Corney  a  memoir e  on  the  subject  of  subsistence.  Lafayette, 
when  told  by  M.  de  Corney  of  the  note,  said  that  he  would 
push  it  with  all  his  power — that  a  plan  from  Mr.  Morris 
on  subsistence  merited  every  attention. 

"  At  the  club  to-night  [September  22d]  there  is  nothing 
worthy  of  remark,"  the  diary  says,  "except  that  everyone 
seems  now  to  be  of  opinion  that  queens  should  be  exclud 
ed  from  the  regency,  on  like  principles  to  those  by  which 
they  are  excluded  from  the  throne,  viz.,  la  lot  salique  ;  and 
further,  that  no  stranger  should  be  in  the  regency.  This 


last  article  is  not  amiss,  if  the  first  can  be  excepted  out  of 
the  provision.  I  tell  them  my  opinion,  which  is  generally 
disliked,  but  they  will  change.  One  of  the  company  waits, 
as  I  am  going  out,  to  whisper  that  he  is  of  my  opinion." 

Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  was  deep  in  the  secrets  of  the 
government,  chiefly  through  her  intimacy  with  the  Bish 
op  of  Autun,  was  also  the  confidante  of  Morris  in  his 
plans  for  the  public  benefit.  "  This  morning  I  go  by  ap 
pointment  to  see  Madame  de  Flahaut.  She  is  at  her  toi 
lette  with  her  dentist.  Show  her  a  list  of  the  Committee 
of  the  Finances  and  take  her  opinion  of  some  characters  ; 
finally,  I  tell  her  that  I  have  a  project  respecting  them  in 
which  she  must  participate  and  must  aid  in  the  execution 
of.  She  gives  me  reason  to  expect  that  M.  de  Montes- 
quiou  will  be  Minister  of  the  Marine,  and  that  in  such  case 
good  things  may  be  done.  We  shall  see.  At  the  club  I 
hear  a  sketch  of  Necker's  propositions  to  the  States.  They 
appear  to  me  strange.  However,  no  judgment  can  be 
formed  till  we  have  the  details." 

"  Madame  de  Flahaut  has  the  latest  news  from  Versailles 
to-day  [September  25th].  She  says  that  Necker  has  made 
a  wretched  discourse  filled  with  self-applause  ;  that  the 
Marquis  de  Montmorin  will  to-morrow  report  from  the 
Committee  of  Finance  upon  his  propositions,  and  therein 
will  detail  his  own  plan  ;  asks  if  I  will  go,  as  in  that  case 
she  will  procure  me  a  ticket,  and  for  Monday  also,  when 
the  Bishop  d' Autun  is  to  report  from  the  Committee  on  the 
Constitution.  I  agree  to  both  propositions.  She  has  con 
veyed  to  Montesquioti  an  expression  of  mine,  which  by  the 
manner  of  relating  is  turned  into  an  elegant  compliment. 
She  says  he  was  well  pleased,  and  that  if  he  is  brought 
into  the  ministry  I  may  boldly  visit  him  with  the  certainty 
of  a  good  reception  ;  that  if  he  is  Minister  of  the  Marine 
we  may  do  valuable  business,  in  which,  as  in  other  objects 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  l6l 

where  she  may  be  useful,  she  is  to  participate.  At  noon 
take  her  to  the  convent  to  visit  her  relt'gieuse,  and  am  to  call 
for  her  again  at  four.  In  the  mean  time  I  go  to  see  the 
Marquis  de  la  Billarderie,  the  brother  of  the  Comte  de 
Flahaut,  to  tell  him  how  turtle  is  to  be  dressed  ;  but  we 
fall  on  the  subject  of  politics  and  the  question  about  the 
tortue  is  postponed  ad  inferendum.  Going  back  to  my 
hotel  I  am  delayed  by  militia,  who  are  going,  or  have  been, 
to  church  to  obtain  a  blessing  on  their  banners.  Later  I 
visit  Madame  de  Chastellux,  and  excuse  myself  for  not 
drinking  tea  with  her.  She  tells  me  that  the  Duke  of 
Orleans  is  plunging  himself  into  debts  and  difficulties  to 
support  the  present  faction's  temper,  and  that  the  Duchess 
will  demand  an  appropriation  of  the  revenue  to  her  separ 
ate  use.  The  sum  fixed  on  by  her  is  half  a  million.  Many 
compliments  from  M.  Lafayette  ;  he  has  not  placed  Ma 
dame  de  Chastellux's  protege,  and  she  is  extremely  vexed. 
This  conduct,  which  flows  from  the  same  source  with  those 
things  which  have  brought  him  up,  very  naturally  tends 
to  bring  him  down.  After  a  drive  with  Madame  de  Flahaut 
and  two  young  ladies  to  the  Bois  de  Boulogne,  I  go  to 
the  opera,  according  to  my  promise,  and  arrive  toward  the 
close  of  the  piece  at  the  loge  of  Madame  Lavoisier.  The 
dancing  after  the  opera  is  prodigiously  fine.  Vestris*  and 
Gardell,  who  are  upon  the  stage  together,  are  both  won 
derful  ;  Gardell  is  second  only  because  Vestris  is  first. 
Go  to  the  arsenal  and  take  tea  with  Madame  Lavoisier  en 
attendant  le  retour  de  monsieur,  who  is  at  the  Hotel  de 
Ville.  Monsieur  comes  in  and  tells  us  of  the  obstination  of 
the  bakers.  This  corporation  threatens  the  municipality 

*  Vestris,  an  Italian  dancer,  had  made  his  debut  in  Paris  in  1748.  He  was 
popularly  styled  the  "  God  of  dancing."  His  vanity  was  excessive,  but 
amusing,  as  is  attested  by  the  familiar  anecdote  that  he  was  once  heard  to 
observe,  that  Frederick,  King  of  Prussia,  Voltaire  and  himself  were  the  only 
great  men  of  the  century.  He  died  in  1808. 

l62  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  VII. 

of  Paris  with  a  discontinuance  of  their  occupation,  unless 
a  confrere  justly  confined  is  released.  Thus  the  new  au 
thority  is  already  trampled  on." 

The  question  of  the  finances  came  on  in  the  Assembly 
on  Saturday  the  26th.  A  start  at  five  in  the  morning  and 
a  rapid  drive  to  Versailles  brought  Morris  to  the  door 
of  the  Assembly  at  eight.  "By  this  means,"  he  says,  "I 
am  still  in  time  and  get  well  seated  immediately  behind 
my  friend  Madame  de  Flahaut.  At  ten  the  session  is 
opened ;  some  trifling  matter  of  presents  to  the  Assembly 
called  the  gifts  of  patriotism,  but  more  properly  the  sacri 
fices  to  vanity  ;  after  these  a  tedious  verbal  controversy  on 
the  reduction  of  yesterday's  minutes,  much  heat  and  noise 
and  impatience,  by  which  means  half  an  hour  is  employed 
in  what  ought  to  have  been  settled  in  half  a  minute.  The 
Marquis  de  Montesquieu  makes  his  report  ;  vast  respect 
for  the  Premier  Ministre  des  Finances,  and  then  sundry 
details  and  combinations,  which  show  that  the  committee 
understand  the  business  much  better  than  the  ministers. 
At  the  close,  however,  of  the  report,  there  is  a  feebleness 
which  they  are  perhaps  not  fully  aware  of,  or  perhaps  it 
was  unavoidable.  They  appeal  to  patriotism  for  aid,  but 
they  should,  in  money  matters,  apply  only  to  interest. 
They  should  never  acknowledge  such  want  of  resource  as 
to  render  the  aid  of  patriotism  necessary.  After  the  re 
port  is  read  the  Comte  de  Mirabeau  objects  to  the  consid 
eration  of  it,  and  insists  that  they  should  immediately  take 
up  M.  Necker's  proposition,  in  which  he  has  a  motion  to 
make.  He  is  called  to  the  tribune,  and  in  a  tone  of  fine 
irony  urges  the  adoption  of  the  plan  proposed  by  the 
Premier  Ministre  from  the  blind  confidence  which  the  As 
sembly  have  in  him,  and  from  that  unbounded  popularity 
which  he  enjoys.  'These,'  says  he,  '  in  that  dreadful  situ 
ation  which  he  has  exposed,  and  in  the  imminency  of 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  163 

danger  which  produces  debate,  urge,  nay,  command  us  to 
adopt  without  examination  what  the  minister  has  devised 
for  our  relief.  Let  us  agree  to  it  literally  {fextuellement\ 
and  if  it  succeeds  let  him,  as  he  ought,  enjoy  the  glory  of 
it ;  if  it  fails,  which  heaven  forefend,  we  will  then  exercise 
our  talents  in  trying  to  discover  if  yet  there  remains  any 
means  to  save  our  country.'  To  my  great  astonishment 
the  representatives  of  this  nation,  who  pique  themselves 
on  being  the  modern  Athenians,  are  ready  to  swallow  this 
proposition  by  acclamation.  The  President,  Clermont- 
Tonnerre,  who  perceives  its  tendency,  throws  into  a  differ 
ent  form  the  style  of  adoption.  Mirabeau  rises  and  very 
adroitly  parries  the  stroke  by  showing  that  this  form  is 
not  consistent  with  his  view,  which  the  Assembly  seemed 
willing  to  comply  with  ;  that  certainly  a  subject  of  such 
magnitude  should  not  be  carried  by  acclamation  without 
having  the  specific  form  before  them,  and  that  if  he  were 
to  propose  a  form  it  would  require  at  least  a  quarter  of 
an  hour  to  consider  it  and  prepare  it.  He  is  immediately 
(by  acclamation)  ordered  to  redact  his  proposition,  and 
while  he  is  about  it  the  Bishop  d'Autun  retires.  We  re 
mark  it.  My  friend  Madame  de  Flahaut  acknowledges 
that  they  are  in  league  together.  The  world  already  sus 
pects  that  union.  During  their  absence  there  is  a  great 
deal  of  noisy  debate  on  various  subjects,  if  indeed  such 
controversy  can  be  dignified  with  the  name  of  debate. 
At  length  Mirabeau  returns  and  brings  his  motion  forward 
in  consistence  with  his  original  idea.  The  Assembly  now 
perceive  the  trap,  and  during  the  tumult  Lally  de  Tollen- 
dal  proposes  that  the  motion  be  sent  to  the  Committee  of 
Finance  to  frame  as  an  arret'e.  Here  again  Mirabeau  man 
oeuvres  to  evade  that  coup,  and  while  the  house  are  hung 
up  in  their  judgment,  or  rather  entangled  from  want  of 
judgment,  d'Espresmenil  makes  a  motion  coincident  with 


that  of  Mirabeau  in  substance,  though  contrariant  in  form. 
There  is  not  sufficient  confidence  in  him,  and  therefore 
the  proposition  drops.  But  it  would  seem  from  hence 
that  he  is  in  the  faction  with  Mirabeau  and  Autun,  or  that 
the  same  principle  of  hatred  to  Necker  has  operated  a 
coincidence  of  conduct  on  the  present  occasion.  After 
this,  tumult  and  noise  continue  to  reign.  Mirabeau  at 
length,  in  another  speech,  openly  declares  his  disapproba 
tion  of  Necker's  plan.  It  is  moved  to  postpone  the  con 
sideration  of  the  subject  at  three  o'clock,  but  that  motion  is 
lost.  At  half-past  three  Madame  de  Flahaut  goes  away, 
and  at  four  I  retire,  extremely  fatigued,  in  the  belief  that 
Mirabeau's  motion  cannot  possibly  be  adopted,  and  that 
they  will  postpone  at  last  the  consideration.  Go  to  Ma 
dame  de  Tesse's.  She  is  at  the  Assemblee.  Madame  de  Tot 
is  so  kind  as  to  order  some  bread  and  wine  for  me  '  en  at 
tendant  le  diner.'  At  length  the  Corntesse  de  Tesse  arrives 
at  five.  Madame  de  Stae'l  is  with  her.  I  had  nearly  told 
this  last  my  opinion  of  Necker's  plan  before  I  knew  her. 
The  Assembly  are  aux  voix  on  the  adoption  ;  the  propo 
sition  not  essentially  different  from  that  of  Mirabeau,  and 
thus  they  are  the  dupes.  He  has  urged,  they  say,  a  deci 
sion  with  the  eloquence  of  Demosthenes.  While  we  are  at 
dinner  the  Comte  de  Tesse  and  some  members  arrive. 
The  adoption  is  carried  hollow,  at  which  Necker's  friends 
rejoice  and  Madame  de  Stae'l  is  in  raptures.  She  is 
pleased  with  the  conduct  of  Mirabeau,  which  she  says  was 
perhaps  the  only  way  of  bringing  such  a  wrong-headed 
body  to  act  rightly  ;  that  the  only  thing  they  could  do  was 
to  comply  with  her  father's  wish,  and  that  there  can  be  no 
doubt  of  the  success  of  his  plans.  Bravo !  After  dinner, 
Madame  de  Tesse  having  told  her  that  I  am  un  homme 
(T  esprit,  she  singles  me  out  and  makes  a  talk;  asks  if  I 
have  not  written  a  book  on  the  American  Constitution. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  165 

'  Non,  Madame,  j'ai  fait  mon  devoir  en  assistant  a  la  forma 
tion  de  cette  Constitution.'  'Mais,  Monsieur,  votre  con 
versation  doit  etre  tres  interessante,  car  je  vous  entends 
citer  de  toute  part.'  '  Oh,  Madame,  je  ne  suis  pas  digne 
de  cet  eloge  ! '  How  I  lost  my  leg  ?  It  was,  unfortunately, 
not  in  the  military  service  of  my  country.  'Monsieur, 
vous  avez  1'air  tres  imposant,'  and  this  is  accompanied 
with  that  look  which,  without  being  what  Sir  John  Fal- 
staff  calls  the  'leer  of  invitation'  amounts  to  the  same 
thing.  I  answer  affirmatively,  and  would  have  left  the 
matter  there,  but  she  tells  me  that  M.  de  Chastellux  often 
spoke  of  me,  etc.  This  leads  us  on  ;  but  in  the  midst  of 
the  chat  arrive  letters,  one  of  which  is  from  her  lover  (De 
Narbonne),  now  with  his  regiment.  It  brings  her  to  a  lit 
tle  recollection,  which  a  little  time  will,  I  think,  again 
banish,  and,  in  all  human  probability,  a  few  interviews 
would  stimulate  her  curiosity  to  the  experiment  of  what 
can  be  effected  by  the  native  of  a  new  world  who  has  left 
one  of  his  legs  behind.  But,  malheureusement,  this  curios 
ity  cannot  now  be  gratified,  and  therefore  will,  I  presume, 
perish.  She  enters  into  a  conversation  with  Madame 
de  Tesse,  who  reproves  most  pointedly  the  approbation 
she  gave  to  Mirabeau,  and  the  ladies  become  at  length 
animated  to  the  utmost  bounds  of  politeness.  I  return 
to  Paris  much  fatigued  ;  the  day  has  been  prodigiously 

"  To-day  [September  27th]  I  read  M.  Necker's  proposi 
tions  ;  they  are  wretched,  and  I  think  he  is  certainly 
ruined.  See  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  tells  me  the  plan  of 
the  Bishop  d'Autun  respecting  finance,  which  is  in  some 
respects  defective.  She  wishes  me  to  have  an  interview 
with  him  and  the  Marquis  de  Montesquiou,  and  will  en 
deavor  to  arrange  it.  Chatting  with  her  upon  various  sub 
jects  we  arrange  a  ministry  and  dispose  of  several  per- 


sons —  Mirabeau  to  go  to  Constantinople,  Lauzun  to 
London.  I  tell  her  that  this  last  is  wrong,  as  he  does  not 
possess  the  needful  talents  ;  but  she  says  he  must  be  sent 
away  because  without  talents  he  can  influence  in  some 
degree  the  proposed  chief,  and  a  good  secretary  will  sup 
ply  the  want  in  England.  We  converse  a  great  deal  about 
the  measures  to  be  pursued,  and  this  amiable  woman 
shows  a  precision  and  justness  of  thought  very  uncommon 
indeed  in  either  sex.  After  discussing  many  points, 
'  Enfin,'  she  says,  '  mon  ami,  vous  et  moi  nous  gouverne- 
rons  la  France.'  It  is  an  odd  combination,  but  the  king 
dom  is  actually  in  much  worse  hands.  This  evening  she 
is  to  confer  with  the  Queen's  physician,  and  set  him  to 
work  to  remove  some  of  Her  Majesty's  prejudices.  I  tell 
her  that  she  may  easily  command  the  Queen,  who  is  weak, 
proud,  but  not  ill-tempered,  and,  though  lustful,  yet  not 
much  attached  to  her  lovers,  therefore  a  superior  mind 
would  take  that  ascendency  which  the  feeble  always  sub 
mit  to,  though  not  always  without  reluctance."  To  this 
Madame  de  Flahaut  replies,  "  with  an  air  of  perfect  confi 
dence,"  that  she  would  take  care  to  keep  the  queen  sup 
plied  with  an  alternating  succession  of  gallants  and 
masses,  and  Morris  comments  :  "  It  is  impossible  not  to 
approve  of  such  a  regime,  and,  I  think,  with  a  due  propor 
tion  of  the  former  medicine  she  must  supplant  the  pre 
sent  physician." 

Morris  grew  rather  wearied  of  Lafayette's  procrastin 
ation  in  the  matter  of  the  memoir e  respecting  subsistence. 
No  attention  had  been  paid  to  it  ;  but  while  Morris  was 
waiting  for  his  answer,  several  other  men  in  authority 
applied  to  him  for  aid  in  supplying  flour;  ''indeed  M. 
Cretel,"  he  says,  "asks  me  if  I  would  not  furnish  some 
flour.  I  tell  him  that  if  Laville  will  appoint  some  person 
to  treat  with  me  on  that  subject  I  will  do  anything  in  my 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  l6/ 

power,  and  that  I  think  I  can  be  useful,  but  that  I  will 
not  throw  myself  at  their  heads.  I  then  tell  Lafayette 
that  a  vessel  had  been  detained  some  days  waiting  for  the 
answer  to  the  memoire ;  that  in  a  few  days  more  I  will 
have  nothing  to  do  with  the  affair  ;  that  some  of  the 
persons  of  the  committee  have,  I  presume,  been  casting 
about  for  the  ways  and  means  to  make  money  out  of  the 
present  distress,  and  are  easy  as  to  consequences  because 
certain  they  shall  not  be  victims  ! " 



The  feast  at  Versailles.  Consternation  at  Paris.  Morris  urges  Lafayette 
to  attach  himself  to  the  king's  party.  Disturbance  in  Paris. 
Church  property  discussed.  Expedition  to  Versailles  proposed  in 
the  Palais  Royal  Gardens.  Excited  state  of  the  people.  Carriages 
stopped  in  the  streets.  Agonizing  night  at  Versailles.  The  royal 
family  brought  to  Paris.  The  heads  of  the  Body-guard  carried 
through  the  streets.  The  royal  family  installed  at  the  Tuileries.  De 
spatches  opened  by  the  mob.  Clermont  de  Tonnerre.  The  Comte 
de  Narbonne  and  Madame  de  Stae'l.  Dinner  at  Lafayette's.  Conver 
sation  with  Lafayette  on  the  situation  of  France.  Mirabeau.  Madame 
de  Chastellux's  salon.  The  Duchess  of  Orleans.  The  Bishop  of 
Autun  reads  a  motion  to  be  presented  to  the  Assembly.  A  ministry 

ON  Thursday,  the  first  of  October,  the  feast  was  pre 
pared  at  Versailles  for  the  Flanders  Regiment. 
This  superb  entertainment  had  been  conceived  in  an  un 
fortunate  moment  by  the  court  to  bring  the  loyal  regi 
ments  to  feast  together.  The  queen  with  all  the  ladies  of 
the  court  graced  the  scene  by  their  presence  in  the  boxes, 
and  increased  the  brilliant  effect.  Her  Majesty  descended 
from  her  box,  and  with  her  son  and  husband,  graceful  and 
tall,  with  a  truly  queen-like  dignity,  walked  through  the 
ranks  of  soldiers.  Excited  by  wine,  by  music,  and  by  the 
presence  of  their  queen,  they  drank  her  health,  cheered 
her,  dragged  the  tricolor  cockade  from  their  hats,  trampled 
it  under  foot,  and  donned  the  white  cockade.  Quickly 
the  news  of  the  sumptuous  banquet  at  Versailles  reached 
Paris.  It  spread  like  fire  among  the  famishing  crowds. 
Aristocrats  had  trampled  their  colors  under  foot.  They 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  169 

had  bread  and  to  spare  ;  they  feast  while  we  starve.  Let 
us  go  to  Versailles  and  demand  bread.  If  we  once  have 
the  king,  queen,  and  dauphin  in  the  midst  of  us  they  will 
be  obliged  to  feed  us.  We  will  bring  back  with  us  the 
Baker,  Bakeress,  and  the  Baker's  Boy  ! 

The  first  of  October  found  Morris  and  M.  de  Corney 
at  work  making  estimates  for  Lafayette  for  the  purchase 
of  provisions  at  reasonable  rates  to  be  served  out  to  the 
poor  of  Paris.  Fresh  pork  which  was  selling  at  sixteen 
sous  per  pound,  they  offered  to  transport  to  Paris  and  sell 
at  half  the  price.  Next  day  :  "  I  go  to-day  to  Lafayette's 
and  ask  a  dinner,"  he  says.  "  I  find  that  even  among  his 
military  family,  there  are  some  who  at  least  wish  well  to 
the  noblesse.  After  dinner  I  take  him  aside  and  tell  him 
some  of  my  sentiments  on  his  own  situation  ;  that  he 
must  immediately  discipline  his  troops  and  make  himself 
obeyed  ;  that  his  nation  is  used  to  be  governed  and  must 
be  governed.  That  if  he  expects  to  lead  them  by  their 
affection  he  will  be  the  dupe.  So  far  he  accords  ;  but  on 
the  subject  of  discipline  his  countenance  shows  the  self- 
accuser,  for  he  has  given  the  command  to  officers  who 
know  nothing  of  their  business.  I  mention  to  him  the  sub 
ject  of  subsistence.  He  wishes  me  to  appear  before  the 
new  committee  on  Monday,  and  that  Mr.  Short  should  also 
be  there,  so  as  to  give  it  the  appearance  of  a  diplomatic 
affair.  This  is  not  overwise,  but  I  desire  him  to  write  to 
me  what  he  wishes,  and  to  write  also  to  Short.  We  will 
see  how  feebleness  will  manage  in  arduous  circumstances. 
I  tell  him  the  serious  truth,  that  if  the  people  of  this  me 
tropolis  want  they  will  send  their  leaders  to  the  devil  at 
once,  and  ask  again  their  bread  and  their  chains  ;  that 
Paris  is,  in  fact,  the  dupe  of  this  business  at  any  rate,  be 
cause  her  splendor  is  owing  entirely  to  despotism,  and 
must  be  diminished  by  the  adoption  of  a  better  govern- 


ment.  I  then  urge  him,  in  the  great  division  of  parties, 
to  attach  himself  to  that  of  the  king,  being  the  only  one 
which  can  predominate  without  danger  to  the  people. 
He  is  startled  at  this  assertion.  I  proceed  to  demonstrate 
it,  but  Mazzie  comes  in  and  with  his  usual  self-possession 
makes  a  third  person  in  the  conversation.  Therefore  I 
quit  it.  Chat  a  little  with  Madame  de  Lafayette,  who 
receives  me  much  better  than  she  used  to  do.  I  know 
not  why,  but  perhaps  I  have  contracted  more  of  that 
tournure  to  which  she  has  been  habituated.  I  go  to  the 
club.  De  Noailles  tells  us  that  Necker's  proposition  as 
modified  will  take.  Kersau  says  that  letters  from  the 
provinces  assure  the  same  thing.  I  am,  however,  still 
incredulous.  Laborde  gives  us  the  fourth  of  his  income 
(400,000  f.),  and  the  Due  d'Orleans  600,000.  I  ask  Kersau 
who  is  the  fittest  man  in  this  kingdom  for  military  Minis 
ter  of  the  Marine.  He  tells  me  it  is  Marignan,  his  brother- 
in-law,  or  himself.  Mirabeau's  address  to  the  nation  on 
the  subject  of  the  new  imposition  is  said  to  be  superb. 
Those  who  contribute  their  fourth  are  to  receive  an  in 
terest  of  four  per  cent.,  and  the  contribution  is  to  be  paid 
in  three  years.  Those  who  have  less  than  400  per  annum 
are  not  to  pay  but  at  their  pleasure." 

"  Much  disturbance  in  Paris,"  is  chronicled  by  the  diary, 
October  4th.  "  The  foolish  story  of  the  cockades  at  Ver 
sailles  and  the  serious  suffering  for  the  want  of  bread  have 
collected  from  eight  to  ten  thousand  wretches,  who  go  to 
the  Hotel  de  Ville.  How  it  will  end  I  know  not,  but  this 
is  certain,  that  unless  they  contrive  to  obtain  food  for  the 
people  they  will  be  constantly  embroiled.  Bailly,  the 
mayor,  is,  they  say,  inept  and  wishes  to  resign.  They 
talk  of  Mirabeau  as  a  successor.  Thus  every  country  has 
its  John  Wilkes.  It  is  no  common  combination,  that  of  a 
heart  to  devise,  a  head  to  plan,  and  a  hand  to  execute. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  I? I 

Dine  with  Madame  de  Flahaut  and  the  Bishop  d'Autun 
at  the  Louvre.  She  is  taken  ill  at  dinner.  We  converse 
about  the  public  affairs,  and  she  tells  us  that  if  he  is  min 
ister  we  must  make  a  million  for  her.  He  has  many  just 
ideas  on  the  subject  of  finance,  but  a  defect  which  he  is 
not  aware  of.  To  correct  it  I  tell  him  that  he  must  get 
men  about  him  who  understand  work  and  who  love  work. 
Mention  De  Corney  as  the  kind  of  man  who  would  suit 
him,  and  observe  that  there  are  very  few  of  the  kind  in 
this  country,  to  which  he  heartily  agrees,  but  is  not  willing 
to  acknowledge  that  he  does  not  love  work  himself.  He 
says  the  present  ministry  will  last  forever  ;  that  is,  longer 
than  he  wishes  ;  but  Necker's  health  and  the  difficulties  he 
is  already  plunged  in  seem  to  me  to  augur  differently. 
We  cannot  even  sketch  the  outlines  of  a  future  plan  dis 
tinctly,  but  in  general  we  agree  as  to  what  ought  to  be 
done.  On  the  subject  of  the  church  property,  I  urge  that 
it  should  be  obtained  by  consent  of  the  Clergy,  and  only 
mortgaged  at  first,  but  sold  afterwards  by  degrees  so  as  to 
obtain  the  full  value.  State  this  as  security  for  the  prin 
cipal,  and  the  dimes  [tithes]  as  security  for  the  interest,  of  a 
loan  which  is  to  be  subscribed  instantly  by  means  of  for 
eign  aid  ;  and  then,  instead  of  insisting  on  the  right  to 
repay  to  the  owners  of  the  rentes  viaglres  their  capital  ad 
vanced  (which  is  his  idea),  to  invite  them  to  a  change,  by 
giving  the  principal  which  the  rente  is  worth,  calculated 
at  an  interest  of  five  per  cent — that  principal  reimbursa 
ble,  and  bearing  an  interest  of  six  per  cent.;  then  begin 
to  pay  the  principal  with  money  obtained  at  four  per  cent., 
and  force  all  the  public  creditors  who  will  not  take  four 
per  cent,  to  accept  their  capital.  This  scheme  is  not  only 
practicable  but  easy.  Urge  the  propriety  of  obliging  the 
Caisse  d'Escompte  to  settle  their  accounts  before  any  fur 
ther  extension  is  given  their  establishment,  and  that  in 


future  the  management  should  be  part  by  commissioners, 
to  prevent  the  present  mischief  ;  which  is,  that  the  minis 
ters  who  are  in  the  administration  make  use  of  it  merely 
as  the  means  to  support  circulation,  by  which  they  raise  a 
fictitious  capital  and  gamble  at  the  risk  of  the  community. 
This  idea  he  approves  of,  but  does  riot  relish  my  further 
idea  of  having  subordinate  banks  in  the  great  cities.  I 
did  not  sufficiently  explain  it,  but  I  have  a  general  idea 
which  might,  I  think,  be  executed  with  great  advantage  in 
this  country.  If  opportunity  offers  for  execution  I  will 
detail  it,  but  for  the  present  I  must  think  of  other  affairs." 
In  the  Palais  Royal  this  Sunday  (October  4th),  possibly 
for  the  first,  certainly  not  for  the  last  time,  a  woman  used 
her  voice  to  extinction  proposing  the  expedition  to  Ver 
sailles  and  denouncing  the  "  plaster-of- Paris  bread,  sacri 
legious  opera  dinners,  green  uniforms,  and  black  cock 
ades."  Danton  "  roared  "  his  denunciations,  and  Marat, 
equally  condemnatory,  made  "as  much  noise  as  the  four 
trumpets  on  the  Day  of  Judgment."  Acts  of  violence  and 
cries  of  "  A  bas !  "  were  the  result  of  seeing  the  black  cock 
ades,  which  men  ruthlessly  dragged  off  and  crushed  under 
foot.  So  passed  Sunday.  Monday  morning,  "  the  town 
is  in  alarm,"  Morris  says.  "  I  go  towards  Chaillot  to  see 
what  is  doing,  but  am  stopped  at  the  Pont  Royal.  Go 
into  the  Tuileries.  A  host  of  women  are  gone  towards 
Versailles  with  some  cannon.  A  strange  manoeuvre ! 
Walk  up  to  Mr.  Short's  ;  he  is  just  going  to  dine.  We  re 
turn  together  to  the  Place  Louis  Quinze.  This  tumult  is  the 
continuation  of  last  night ;  a  wild,  mad  enterprise.  Go  to 
the  arsenal.  Admitted  with  difficulty.  They  are  at  din 
ner.  Madame  Lavoisier  is  detained  in  town,  as  all  car 
riages  were  stopped  and  the  ladies  obliged  to  join  the 
female  mob.  While  we  si:  at  table,  we  learn  that  the  mi 
litia  and  the  Regiment  National  are  marching  towards 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  1/3 

Versailles.  Return  home  and  dress.  At  eight  o'clock  go 
to  the  Louvre  to  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  sup  with 
Madame  Capellis.  Capellis  is  with  her.  He  says  the 
Regiment  de  Flandre,  the  Milice  de  Versailles,  and  the 
Garde  du  Corps  are  determined  to  give  the  Parisians  a 
warm  reception.  Lafayette  has  marched  by  compulsion, 
guarded  by  his  own  troops,  who  suspect  and  threaten  him. 
Dreadful  situation  !  Obliged  to  do  what  he  abhors,  or  suf 
fer  an  ignominious  death,  with  the  certainty  that  the  sac 
rifice  of  his  life  will  not  prevent  the  mischief.  I  go  to 
supper.  Much  discourse  about  what  is  to  happen  at  Ver 
sailles,  and  we  agree  that  our  Parisians  will  be  beaten  and 
we  consider  it  as  fortunate  that  they  are  gone.  I  venture 
the  assurance  that  from  this  day  forward  the  French  army 
will  return  to  its  sovereign,  presuming,  always,  that  the 
Regiment  de  Flandre  will,  as  it  is  said,  do  its  duty  this 
night.  A  gentleman  here  tells  us  an  anecdote  which 
shows  how  well  this  nation  is  adapted  to  the  enjoyment  of 
freedom.  He  walked  near  a  knot  of  people  collected  to 
gether,  where  an  orator  was  haranguing.  The  substance 
of  his  oration  was  :  '  Messieurs,  nous  manquons  du  pain, 
et  voici  la  raison.  II  n'y  a  que  trois  jours  que  le  Roi  a 
eu  ce  veto  suspensif,  et  deja  les  aristocrats  ont  achete  des 
suspensions  et  envoye  les  grains  hors  du  Royaume.'  To 
this  sensible  and  profound  discourse  his  audience  gave  a 
hearty  assent.  *  Ma  foi,  il  a  raison.  Ce  n'est  que  ca.'  Oh 
rare  !  These  are  the  modern  Athenians — alone  learned, 
alone  wise,  alone  polite,  and  the  rest  of  mankind  barba 
rians  !  I  learn  this  evening  that  several  of  the  provinces 
are  become  discontented  at  the  acts  of  the  Assembles 
Nationale,  but  principally  with  the  city  of  Paris.  At 
Madame  de  Flahaut's  the  company  at  supper  was  reduced 
almost  to  a  tete-a-tete.  The  guests  all  decline,  from  the 
public  confusion." 


At  Versailles  by  eleven  in  the  morning  the  Comte  de 
St.  Priest  knew  of  the  approach  of  the  mob,  with  its  ad 
vanced  guard  of  seven  or  eight  thousand  women — women 
in  the  guise  of  Amazons  :  the  Queen  of  the  Halles,  dressed 
in  scarlet,  with  eyes  flashing  and  hair  flying  ;  and  sad 
women,  with  starving  babies  in  their  arms.  It  was  a  mob 
with  many  unexpressed  intentions,  but  with  a  fixed,  unal 
terable  resolve  to  find  bread.  The  king,  strangely  infat 
uated,  hunted  that  eventful  day,  and  must  be  reminded  of 
his  duty.  And  even  in  the  face  of  approaching  calamity 
he  found  time  to  make  an  entry  in  his  journal  and  to  note 
the  forty-one  birds  killed,  and  to  comment  on  the  interrup 
tion  occasioned  "par  les  evenements."  The  queen,  while 
taking  a  walk — the  last  she  ever  took — in  the  pretty  gar 
dens  of  Trianon,  was  called  to  a  realization  of  "  les  evene 
ments,"  to  which  she  was  more  keenly  alive  than  the  king. 

In  the  Assembly  they  squabbled  over  the  king's  response 
relative  to  the  Rights  of  Man,  quite  unmindful  or  ignorant 
of  the  fact  that  men  had  come  to  settle  the  debated  ques 
tion  in  their  own  way.  Through  the  wild  gale  and  the 
deluges  of  rain,  the  darkness  adding  to  the  general  misery, 
the  mob  came.  The  tocsin  sounded,  and  mingled  its 
voice  with  that  of  the  tired,  wet,  hungry  mob  in  the 
streets.  In  the  chateau,  the  Comte  de  Luxembourg  begged 
the  king  for  orders.  "What  orders?"  asked  Louis  XVI. 
"Against  women  ?  You  mock  me." 

Hasty  preparations  were  making  to  take  the  royal  fam 
ily  to  Rambouillet,  but  the  king  refused  to  go,  and  the 
queen  refused  to  leave  him.  Fear  and  apprehension  grew 
insupportable  as  the  night  dragged  slowly  on.  The  queen 
heeded  nothing ;  not  even  the  cries  of  the  Dauphin, 
"  Mamma,  I  am  hungry,"  elicited  any  response.  Sudden 
ly,  about  four  o'clock  in  the  morning,  the  agony  was  in 
creased,  if  possible,  by  blood-curdling  proposals  made  con- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  1/5 

cerning  the  queen  among  the  mob.  Then  the  chateau 
suddenly  filled  with  armed  men,  who  found  access  through 
the  door  of  the  Cour  de  1'Opera,  which  in  the  confusion 
had  been  left  open.  They  followed  the  passages  which 
led  to  the  queen's  chamber,  where  she,  exhausted  by  the 
confusion  of  the  day,  slept.  Brave  Miomandre  de  Sainte 
Marie  met  the  mob  on  the  great  staircase,  and  pleaded 
with  them  to  desist  from  their  mad  purpose,  but  unavail- 
ingly  ;  on  they  went.  Then  he  shouted  to  the  guards,  "  Save 
your  queen  !  "  Rudely  awakened,  she  rushed,  scantily  clad, 
to  the  king's  chamber  by  a  secret  passage,  and  for  a  mo 
ment  she  found  a  refuge  ;  but  the  crowd  demanded  that 
she  should  show  herself,  and  with  her  children  she  ap 
peared  on  the  balcony.  "  No  children,"  came  the  cry; 
and  she  stood  alone  before  them,  heroic  and  queen-like. 
The  king  must  go  to  Paris,  the  crowd  decreed  ;  and  he 
promised  to  go  "on  condition,"  he  said,  "that  I  shall  not 
be  separated  from  my  wife  and  family."  At  one  o'clock 
the  melancholy  procession  set  out — a  hundred  of  the 
deputies  and  the  bulk  of  the  Parisian  army,  the  royal 
family,  and  in  the  midst  the  heads  of  the  two  body-guards 
murdered  during  the  night,  carried  on  poles.  The  day 
was  one  of  rare  beauty.  It  was  on  such  a  day  and  in 
such  a  manner  that  Versailles  ceased  to  be  the  home  of 

"Tuesday  morning,  October  6th,  Paris  is  all  in  tumult," 
Morris  says.  "  Two  heads  of  the  gardes  du  corps  are 
brought  to  town,  and  the  royal  family,  who  are  in  posses 
sion  of  the  Regiment  National,  late  Gardes  Fra^ais, 
are  to  come  this  afternoon.  I  go  to  see  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut.  She  \vants  to  visit  at  the  Place  Royal.  We  take 
her  fille  de  chambre  along  (to  save  appearances).  The 
gentleman,  M.  de  St.  Priest,  is  not  at  home,  but  is  returned 
from  Versailles.  On  our  return  we  find  that  among  other 

1/6  DIARY    AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  VIII. 

visitors  the  Bishop  has  been  there.  Madame  is  alarmed  ; 
sends  after  him.  She  wants  to  know  the  news  from  Versail 
les.  Presently  after,  asks  if  she  shall  send  for  Capellis  to 
know  the  news  of  Paris.  I  agree.  While  at  supper  Capellis 
comes  in.  The  Bishop  is  not  to  be  found.  Capellis  gives 
a  recital  of  what  has  passed.  Many  circumstances  of  in 
sult  to  the  royal  personages.  The  Queen  obliged  to  fly 
from  her  bed  in  her  shift  and  petticoat,  with  her  stockings 
in  her  hand,  to  the  King's  chamber  for  protection,  being 
pursued  by  the  poissardes.  At  the  Hotel  de  Ville  M. 
Bailly,  in  reading  the  King's  speech,  omitted  in  some  part 
the  words  '  avec  confiance.'  The  Queen  corrected  him, 
which  produced  a  shout  of,  'Vive  la  Reine!'  They  are  to 
lodge  in  the  chambers  fitted  up  in  the  Ttiileries  (as  slander 
says)  for  her  amours.  These  will  now  present  her  but  bit 
ter  remembrances.  Oh  virtue  !  thou  art  valuable,  even  in 
this  world.  What  an  unfortunate  prince  !  the  victim  of 
his  weakness,  and  in  the  hands  of  those  who  are  not  to  be 
relied  on  even  for  pity.  What  a  dreadful  lesson  it  is  for 
man  that  an  absolute  prince  cannot  with  safety  be  indul 
gent.  The  troubles  of  this  country  are  begun,  but  as  to 
the  end,  it  is  not  easy  to  foresee  it.  The  National  Assem 
bly  is  to  come  to  Paris,  and  it  is  supposed  that  the  inhabi 
tants  of  the  Louvre  will  be  deniches.  Madame  de  Flahaut 
declares  she  willgo  off  on  Monday.  I  am  very  heartily  tired 
of  myself  and  everything  about  me,  and  return  home,  with 
the  one  consolation  that,  being  very  sleepy,  I  shall  in  that 
sweet  oblivion  lose  a  thousand  disagreeable  thoughts. 
This  day  has  been  rainy  and  windy,  and  I  believe  (at  sea)  a 
high  gale  if  not  a  storm.  Man  turbulent,  like  the  elements, 
disorders  the  moral  world,  but  it  is  action  which  supports 

"The  King  forbade  all  resistance,  Madame  de  Flahaut 
hears  [October  yth]  from  Versailles,  and  the  Queen,  on  re- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  1/7 

tiring  to  her  own  chamber,  told  her  attendants  that,  as  the 
King  was  determined  to  go  to  Paris,  she  must  accompany 
him,  but  she  should  never  leave  it.  Poor  lady,  this  is  a 
sad  presage  of  what  is  too  likely.  The  King  ate  a  very 
hearty  supper  last  night.  Who  will  say  that  he  wants 
fortitude?  At  the  club  there  is  a  good  deal  of  random 
conversation  about  public  affairs.  Most  men  begin  to  per 
ceive  that  things  are  not  in  the  best  train.  There  are 
still,  however,  a  number  of  the  enrages  who  are  well  pleased. 
If  my  calculations  are  not  very  erroneous,  the  Assemblee 
Nationale  will  soon  feel  the  effects  of  their  new  position. 
There  can  be  no  question  of  the  freedom  of  debate  in  a 
place  so  remarkable  for  order  and  decency  as  the  city  of 
Paris.  I  told  O'Connel  that  they  must  give  discharges  to 
all  the  soldiers  who  asked  them,  if  they  want  to  have  an 
obedient  army,  and  recruit  next  winter  when  they  are  hun 
gry  and  cold,  because  misery  will  make  them  obedient.  I 
think  he  will  circulate  this  idea  as  his  own,  because  he  has 
a  good  dose  of  what  is  called  by  different  names,  but  in  a 
soldier  is  the  love  of  glory.  A  curious  incident  has  hap 
pened  this  day.  The  district  of  St.  Roch  have  opened  the 
despatches  to  the  ministers  and  read  them  to  the  black 
guards,  to  see  if  they  contained  anything  against  the  na 

M.  Le  Coulteux,  on  the  8th  of  October,  again  suggested 
that  Morris  should  have  an  interview  with  M.  Necker, 
and  propose  to  him  the  purchase  of  flour  and  wheat.  "  I 
receive  the  proposition  very  coldly,"  says  the  former,  "and 
tell  him  that  I  am  going  to  England,  being  heartily  out  of 
humor  with  everything  in  France.  Later  I  proceed  to  M. 
de  Lafayette's.  He  is  surrounded.  In  conference  with 
Clermont  de  Tonnerre,  Madame  de  Lafayette,  M.  de  Stael, 
and  M.  de  Semien  his  friend,  are  en  comit^  in  the  salon. 
This  is  all  petit.  I  take  a  few  minutes  to  tell  Lafayette 



what  appears  necessary  as  to  a  change  of  administration. 
He  has  spoken  to  Mirabeau  already.  I  regret  it ;  he 
thinks  of  taking  one  minister  from  each  party.  I  tell  him 
that  he  must  have  men  of  talents  and  firmness,  and  for  the 
rest  it  is  no  matter.  Am  to  dine  with  him  to-morrow  and 
converse  on  this  matter.  Visit  Madame  de  Flahaut.  M. 
Aubert  is  there,  and  before  he  goes  Mr.  O'Connel  arrives. 
He  stays  till  nine  o'clock.  I  then  tell  her  that  I  want  to  see 
her  Bishop,  and  that  he  pledge  himself  to  support  Lafay 
ette  ;  wait  for  his  arrival,  but  as  he  does  not  come  in,  and 
M.  St.  Priest  and  his  daughter  arrive,  I  go  away.  At  M. 
Le  Coulteux's  Cantaleu  tells  me  of  what  has  passed  with 
Necker.  They  see  their  way  to  a  supply  till  March  next, 
but  then  they  must  have  aid.  In  conversing  with  him 
on  the  means,  he  proposed  an  interview  with  me,  and 
mentioned  that  I  wished  to  see  him  on  the  subject  of  the 
debt  from  America.  Necker  immediately  observed  that 
perhaps  I  would  take  the  debt  in  payment  of  supplies. 
Thus  we  stand.  I  am  to  see  him  between  five  and  six  on 
Saturday  afternoon.  Lafayette  is  to  desire  him  to  speak 
to  me  on  the  subject  this  evening.  Nous  verrons.  At  eleven 
I  receive  a  note  from  Madame  de  Flahaut.  The  Bishop 
is  just  arrived  and  wishes  to  see  me.  I  go  to  the  Louvre. 
Capellis  is  there.  Madame  takes  the  Bishop  and  me  out, 
which  surprises  Capellis  not  a  little.  We  converse  pretty 
fully  on  the  arrangement  of  a  ministry.  The  getting-  rid 
of  Necker  is  a  sine  qud  non  with  the  Bishop,  who  wants  his 
place.  Indeed,  I  am  of  the  same  opinion.  He  gives  me 
every  assurance  I  can  wish  respecting  Lafayette.  After 
arranging  the  new  ministry,  we  come  to  finance:  the 
means  of  restoring  credit,  etc.  Consider  his  plan  respect 
ing  the  property  of  the  church.  He  is  bigoted  to  it ;  and 
the  thing  is  well,  but  the  mode  not  so  well.  He  is  attached 
to  this  as  an  author,  which  is  not  a  good  symptom  for  a 


man  of  business.  However,  our  friend  insists  with  him 
so  earnestly  that  she  makes  him  give  up  one  point.  She 
has  infinite  good  sense.  After  the  Bishop  d'Autun  leaves, 
Count  Louis  de  Narbonne,  Madame  de  StaeTs  lover, 
comes  in  ;  a  lively  scene  of  raillery  between  them,  upon 
an  affair  of  the  Bishop  d'Autun's  with  Madame  de  Stael. 
It  seems  that  he  and  the  Bishop  are  intimate  friends.  Fie 
at  bottom  is  much  hurt  at  the  conduct  of  his  friend,  and 
very  gayly  proposes  to  her  a  pleasant  vengeance.  Asks 
for  dinner.  She  desires  me  to  stay  longer,  but  my  hour  is 
come,  and  therefore  we  must  postpone  reflections  till  this 
afternoon.  Leave  her  and  go  to  see  De  Corney.  He 
shows  me  his  letter  to  the  King  on  the  subject  of  subsist 
ence.  I  approve  of  it,  for  he  has  delivered  it  this  morn 
ing.  His  wife,  I  find,  is  acquainted  with  the  whole  affair. 
This  is  the  woman's  country.  Go  to  Lafayette's.  A  large 
company  to  dine.  After  dinner  go  into  his  cabinet  and 
talk  to  him  about  a  new  ministry  of  more  ability  than  the 
present.  Mention  the  Bishop  of  Autun  for  the  Finances. 
He  says  he  is  a  bad  man  and  false.  I  controvert  the 
proposition,  upon  the  ground  already  given  to  me.  I  tell 
him  that  with  the  Bishop  he  gets  Mirabeau.  He  is  sur 
prised  at  this,  and  assures  me  they  are  enemies.  I  tell  him 
that  he  is  mistaken,  and  as  my  information  is  the  best,  he 
is  thrown  into  the  style  of  a  man  greatly  deceived.  I  tell 
him  the  idea  of  the  Bishop,  that  the  King  should  immedi- 
atelv  have  given  him  (Lafayette)  a  blue  riband.  This 
goes  farther  towards  convincing  him  that  he  is  an  honest 
man  than  many  good  actions.  Montesquieu  as  Minister 
at  War  might  do.  He  does  not  much  like  him,  but  he  is 
the  friend  of  M.  de  Montmorin.  Propose  Touret  for  Garde 
des  Sceaux.  He  owns  that  he  has  talent,  but  questions  as 
to  his  force  of  mind.  I  ask  him  what  he  intends  to  do 
with  Clermont-Tonnerre.  He  says  he  is  not  a  man  of 


great  abilities.  I  add  that  he  is  a  man  of  duplicity  (faux). 
He  agrees  that  he  is ;  therefore  no  difficulty  with  respect 
to  him.  I  tell  him  that  the  coalition  I  propose  will  drive 
Necker  away  by  the  very  populace  which  now  support 
him.  Necker  is  already  frightened,  and  sick  of  the  busi 
ness  he  is  engaged  in.  The  Due  de  la  Rochefoucault  comes 
in.  He  tells  us  that  the  Assembly  are  to  come  to  Paris, 
and  that  the  motion  of  the  Bishop  respecting  the  prop 
erty  of  the  church  is  postponed  till  to-morrow,  when  he 
expects  to  have  the  clergy  with  him.  I  am  to  see  Lafay 
ette  again  on  Sunday  morning  at  nine.  I  cannot  dine 
with  him  to-morrow  ;  besides,  it  is  nonsense  to  meet  at 
dinner  in  a  crowd.  Ternant  and  I  have  a  little  conversa 
tion.  He  tells  me  he  is  sure  of  his  regiment,  and  can 
bring  with  him  six  hundred  chasseurs  from  the  skirts  of 
the  Bois  de  Boulogne.  I  ask  him  if  I  shall  name  him  as 
one  who  can  be  relied  on  to  a  person  of  my  acquaintance. 
He  desires  that  his  name  may  not  be  used,  unless  in  the 
houses  where  he  visits ;  but  that  I  may  say  I  know  an 
officer  who  can  be  relied  on,  etc.,  without  naming  him.  Go 
to  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  Madame  de  Corney  is  with  her. 
After  she  is  gone  she  asks  the  result  of  our  conversation 
at  Lafayette's.  I  give  the  amount  in  few  words.  She 
tells  me  that  Louis  de  Narbonne,  who,  with  infinite  wit,  is 
'un  assez  mauvais  sujet,'  will  be  the  enemy  of  the  Bishop 
on  account  of  the  amour.  I  am  tired  and  vexed  ;  there 
fore  come  home,  take  tea,  and  go  early  to  bed.  This  has 
been  a  rainy,  disagreeable  day." 

"  I  am  to  meet  the  Bishop  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's  this 
evening,"  says  the  entry  for  October  loth.  "  I  see  M.  Le 
Coulteux  this  morning,  and  confer  about  the  debt  to 
France.  In  speaking  about  the  mode  in  which  we  are 
to  treat  with  M.  Necker,  I  mention  my  determination  to 
act  very  openly,  etc.  Laurent  le  Coulteux  wants  to  higgle, 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  l8l 

and  as  I  treat  this  mode  of  dealing  with  contempt,  we 
have  a  pretty  smart  conversation  ;  in  the  course  of  it  he 
discovers  how  much  he  is  hurt  by  my  indifference.  I  pur 
sue,  however,  my  straightforward  line,  and  Cantaleu  agrees 
with  me  in  sentiment.  We  have  soon  some  more  company, 
and  go  to  dinner.  His  attentions  and  those  of  Madame 
are  marked.  At  five  call  on  Cantaleu,  and  we  visit  M. 
Necker.  Madame  asks  us  to  dine  next  Tuesday.  We  go 
to  the  cabinet  of  monsieur,  and  after  some  chat  proceed 
to  the  consideration  of  the  debt  of  the  United  States  to 
France.  I  tell  him  the  whole  truth  with  respect  to  it,  and 
assure  him  that  I  will  not  engage  in  a  purchase  with 
out  such  a  view  to  profit  as  will  save  me  from  all  risk, 
and  that  he  must  make  a  sacrifice.  Cantaleu  reads  the 
note  I  gave  to  the  Marechal  de  Castries,  and  we  finally 
come  to  consider  between  sixteen  and  twenty  millions. 
He  proposes  the  latter  sum,  and  on  Tuesday  we  are  to 
talk  farther  about  it.  Visit  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who 
leaves  me  reading  "  La  Pucelle  "  and  goes  out  in  my 
carriage.  She  returns  after  a  short  visit.  Stay  till  near 
eleven,  but  the  Bishop  does  not  appear,  so  I  quit  the 

"I  go  this  morning  [October  nth]  to  keep  my  appoint 
ment  with  Lafayette.  He  keeps  me  waiting  a  very  long 
time.  Find  that  he  wishes  to  avoid  coming  to  any  points  as 
to  a  new  administration,  therefore  carelessly  ask  him  if  he 
has  thought  on  the  subject  of  our  last  conversation.  This 
letids  us  on.  I  state  to  him  the  present  situation  of  France, 
and  the  necessity  of  combining  men  of  talents  who  have 
principles  favorable  to  liberty  ;  that  without  talents  the 
opportunity  of  regaining  executive  authority  will  be  lost, 
and  that  without  the  proper  principles  the  authority  when 
recovered  will  be  abused  ;  that  he  cannot  possibly  act 
both  as  minister  and  soldier — still  less  as  minister  of 


every  department  ;  that  he  must  have  coadjutors  in  whom 
he  can  confide  ;  that  as  to  the  objections  he  has  made  on 
the  score  of  morals  in  some,  he  must  consider  that  men  do 
not  go  into  administration  as  the  direct  road  to  Heaven  ; 
that  they  are  prompted  by  ambition  or  avarice,  and  there 
fore  that  the  only  way  to  secure  the  most  virtuous  is  by 
making  it  their  interest  to  act  rightly.  He  tells  me  that 
he  means  to  introduce  Malesherbes  as  Garde  des  Sceaux, 
and  to  the  objection  that  he  will  not  be  induced  to  accept, 
the  reply  is,  that  he  will  accept  from  M.  de  Lafayette.  I 
have  a  stronger  objection,  which  I  do  not  choose  to  make  ; 
viz.,  that  he  is  not  sufficiently  a  man  of  business,  although 
certainly  well  informed  and  possessed  of  a  great  deal  of 
understanding.  He  mentions  Rochefoucault  as  Minister 
of  Paris,  and  to  the  objection  that  he  has  not  the  needful 
talents,  he  answers  that  he  will  give  him  a  premier  commis 
who  has.  The  Minister  of  War  is  in  the  same  situation, 
but  they  cannot  carry  the  commis  into  the  council  to  delib 
erate  and  judge.  He  will  himself  be  in  council,  and  will 
take  care  to  manage  everything  there.  Unluckily  he  does 
not  reflect  that  he  himself  wants  both  talents  and  informa 
tion.  He  again  mentions  that  he  will  have  Mirabeau,  to 
which  I  reply  that  a  man  so  profligate  will  disgrace  any 
administration,  and  that  one  who  has  so  little  principle 
ought  not  to  be  trusted.  I  do  not,  as  I  might,  retort  on 
the  subject  of  morality.  I  know  pretty  well  the  man  I  am 
speaking  to,  and  therefore  can  estimate  his  reasons.  He 
is  very  desirous  to  get  rid  of  me,  and  I  take  my  leave.  I 
am  vexed  to  find  that  by  littleness  the  little  are  to  be 
placed  where  greatness  alone  can  fill  the  seat.  He  keeps 
Necker,  whose  talents  he  despises,  because  Necker  is  hon 
est  and  he  can  trust  him,  as  if  it  were  possible  to  trust  a 
timid  man  in  arduous  circumstances.  Visit  Madame  de 
Flahaut.  She  is  with  her  physician,  but  Deceives  me  a  lit- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  183 

tie  after  one,  and  begs  me  to  dine  tete-a-tete  with  her. 
The  Queen  is  coming  round.  This  morning  the  King's 
dentist  fell  dead  at  his  feet.  The  poor  King  exclaimed 
that  he  was  devoted  to  experience  every  kind  of  misfort 
une.  He  had,  however,  presence  of  mind  enough  to  de 
sire  Vicq  d'Azyr,  the  physician,  to  go  and  break  the  matter 
gently  to  the  Queen,  who  was  not  well  and  might  suffer 
from  such  a  shock.  She  is  highly  pleased  with  the  Bish 
op's  motion.  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux.  She  is  in 
bed  and,  I  think,  very  ill  ;  a  dreadful  cough,  which  must 
terminate  fatally  if  not  soon  relieved.  The  Duchess 
comes  in,  and  makes  some  kind  reproaches  for  not  visiting 
at  Raincy.  Return  home,  write  and  dress,  and  then  go 
to  club.  Stay  but  a  few  minutes.  Go  to  Madame  de 
Flahaut's.  She  is  abroad  ;  I  wait  her  return,  which  is  not 
until  after  three.  She  tells  me  that  she  has  repeated  to 
the  Bishop  my  conversation  with  Lafayette,  of  which,  by 
the  bye,  I  told  only  such  parts  as  could  by  no  means  con 
vey  his  intentions,  although  they  were  not  communicated 
to  me  in  express  confidence.  Mirabeau  is  to  have  an  in 
terview  this  evening  with  the  King  (private,  and  unknown 
to  anybody  but  ourselves). 

"  I  leave  her  and  visit  at  M.  de  Montmorin's.  M.  de  la 
Luzerne  is  there.  Both  very  glad  to  see  me,  and  as  they 
have  been  at  a  conversation  duly  serious,  I  animate  it  with 
a  gayety  which  produces  very  good  effect.  It  is  a  pity  that 
these  people  have  not  the  needful  abilities  ;  however,  I 
have  labored  to  keep  Montmorin  in  place,  and  I  think  it 
possible  still  to  succeed.  He  is  very  honest,  and  his  situa 
tion  with  Florida  Blanca  *  renders  him  a  desirable  mem- 

*  Count  Florida  Blanca,  a  Spanish  statesman,  and  prime  minister  in  1777. 
He  made  great  efforts  to  recover  Gibraltar,  in  which  attempt,  however,  his 
plans  were  frustrated — but  the  Spanish  captured  Florida,  Minorca,  the 
Bahamas,  and  a  fleet  of  fifty-five  merchant-vessels. 



ber  of  the  ministry,  because,  so  long  as  these  two  con 
tinue  in  office,  they  may  count  upon  Spain  with  certainty. 
From  hence  go  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  The  Duchess 
is  there,  and  Mr.  Short.  A  light,  pleasant  conversation  ; 
among  other  things,  her  picture  at  the  salon,  which  Mr. 
Short  thinks  is  perfect.  I  tell  her  Royal  Highness  : 
'  Madame,  ce  portrait-Id  n'a  qu'un  defaut  d  mes  yeux.'  '  Et 
qu'est-ce  done,  ce  defaut?'  'C'est  qu'il  ne  m'appartient 
pas,  Madame.'  The  Due  de  Penthievre  is  in  town,  and 
Madame  de  Chastellux  tells  me  she  is  sure  I  should  like 
him.  '  II  passe  sa  vie  a  bien  faire.  Oui  (pointing  to  the 
Duchess),  elle  est  bien  faite,'  etc.  The  Comtesse  de  Segur 
comes  in,  and  afterwards  the  Chevalier  de  Bouflers  ;*  then 
the  Abbe  St.  Phar.  Madame  de  Segur  asks  my  opinion 
of  the  affairs.  Talk  to  her  sensible  observations,  but  I 
cannot  go  farther.  She  gives  me  her  information,  that 
the  Due  de  la  Rochefoucault  is  to  be  brought  into  the 
ministry.  At  half-past  nine  go  to  the  Louvre  to  supper. 
Madame  de  Rully  had  come  in  before  I  left.  She  gave 
us  some  anecdotes,  and  also  the  state  of  Corsica,  where 
her  husband  now  is  with  his  regiment.  At  Madame  de 
Flahaut's  we  have  Colonel  O'Connel  and  Madame  La- 
borde  his  friend,  with  her  husband.  After  dinner  the 
Bishop  comes  in,  and  the  rest  go  away.  I  tell  him  what 
has  passed  with  Lafayette,  as  far  as  is  proper,  and  my 
future  intention,  which  is  to  tell  him  that,  having  done  my 
duty  to  him  and  to  his  country,  I  quit  the  matter  and  leave 
him  to  the  course  of  events.  I  urge  an  union  with  those 
who  are  to  form  the  new  ministry,  and  that  they  avow 
themselves  to  the  people  as  candidates  and  let  the  Court 
know  that  they  will  come  in  together  or  not  at  all.  He 
thinks  this  right,  and  also  that  the  present  circumstances 

*  Marquis  Stanislas  de  Bouflers,  a  mediocre  French  writer. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  185 

have  sufficient  force  to  consume  another  administration 
before  things  are  entirely  fixed.  He  reads  us  his  motion  ; 
it  is  well  done.  Afterwards  we  talk  about  the  best  ways 
and  means  to  effect  the  intended  objects,  and  I  give  him  a 
few  hints  on  general  principles  tending  to  the  wealth  and 
happiness  of  a  nation  and  founded  on  the  sentiments  of 
the  human  heart.  He  is  struck  with  them,  as  men  of  real 
talents  always  are  with  the  disclosure  of  real  truth,  and 
this,  by  the  bye,  forms  a  principal  charm  of  conversation. 
Oh,  it  is  dreadfully  tiresome  to  explain  down  to  the  first 
principles  for  one  of  those  half-way  minds  which  see  just 
far  enough  to  bewilder  themselves.  Leave  the  Bishop 
with  Madame." 

"  Monday  [October  i2th],  I  visit  Madame  de  Flahaut  by 
appointment.  She  shows  me  a  letter  to  the  Bishop,  which 
is  perfect.  A  deep  knowledge  of  human  character,  an 
acquaintance  with  the  world  which  arises  from  reflection 
on  the  hearts  of  those  who  live  in  it,  and  the  most  just 
conclusions  of  the  regulation  of  his  conduct,  enforced  by 
the  tenderness  of  female  friendship — all  this  join  to  render 
a  hasty  production  perfect.  I  thought  well  of  myself,  but 
I  submit  frankly  to  a  superiority  which  I  feel.  She  told 
me  some  days  ago,  after  seeing  Mr.  Jefferson's  counte 
nance,  '  Get  homme  est  faux  et  emporteV  The  arrange 
ment  talked  of  at  present  for  an  administration  is  to 
make  Necker  Premier,  the  Bishop  d'Autun  Minister  of  Fi 
nance,  and  Liancourt  Minister  of  War.  Mirabeau  (who 
had  yesterday  four  hours'  conversation,  not  with  the  King 
but  with  Monsieur,  and  who  is  to  see  the  King  this  day) 
wishes  to  be  in  the  ministry  ;  an  embassy  will  no  longer 
content  him.  I  leave  her  and  go  to  Madame  de  Chastel- 
lux's.  At  about  eight  the  Duchess  comes  in  with  the 
Vicomte  de  Segur.  About  fifty  members  of  the  Assem- 
blee  Nationale,  it  is  said,  have  retired  ;  among  them  De 


Mounier  *  and  Lally-Tollendal.f  This  will  excite  some  sen 
sation,  if  it  be  true.  Go  thence  to  Madame  de  Laborde's, 
and  sup.  After  supper  make  tea  for  them." 

*  Mounier  was  a  man  of  strong  judgment  and  inflexible  character,  who 
considered  the  system  of  the  English  constitution  as  the  type  of  representative 
government  and  wished  to  effect  the  revolution  by  accommodation. 

t  Marquis  de  Lally-Tollendal,  a  deputy  from  the  noblesse  to  the  States- 
General  in  1789,  was  one  of  the  minority  of  his  order  who  united  with  the 
Tiers  Etat  and  favored  reform.  He  emigrated  to  England  in  1792. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  1 87 


Deputies  demand  passports.  The  streets  alive  with  disorderly  characters. 
Houses  marked  for  destruction.  Unsafe  to  walk  about  Paris.  Necker 
sombre  and  depressed.  Madame  de  StaePs  salon.  The  Duke  of  Or 
leans  leaves  for  England.  Morris  calls  on  Necker,  and  suggests  the 
idea  of  raising  the  price  of  bread.  Letter  to  Lafayette.  The  Duke 
of  Orleans  is  stopped  at  Boulogne.  News  of  insurrections.  Conver 
sation  in  Madame  de  Flahaut's  salon  about  intended  changes  in  the 
ministry.  Lafayette  commits  a  blunder  in  offering  himself  to  Mira- 
beau.  The  Cardinal  de  Rohan.  Flour  to  be  imported  from  America. 
Graphic  letter  to  Robert  Morris.  Madame  de  Flahaut  disconsolate  over 
the  reduction  in  pensions. 

T)EFORE  many  weeks  had  passed,  three  hundred  depu- 
JD  ties  demanded  passports.  An  indisposition  attacked 
them,  which  Louis  Blanc  calls  the  "maladie  de  la  con- 
tre-revolution  avortee."  Among  the  two  parties  which 
formed  the  counter-revolutionists,  there  were  differences 
of  action.  The  one  endeavored  to  shun  events,  the  other 
strove  to  ferment  new  agitations.  The  streets  were  alive 
with  women  of  no  character,  dressed  as  for  the  masquer 
ade,  who  entered  houses  and  demanded  money.  Later, 
houses  marked  for  more  or  less  destructive  purposes  were 
everywhere  to  be  seen.  Red  indicated  fire,  white  signified 
pillage  only,  but  the  black  mark  proclaimed  the  house 
doomed,  and  its  inmates  subjects  for  death.  Malet-du- 
Pin  *  wrote  to  some  one  that  moderation  had  become  a 
crime,  and  Mirabeau  told  the  Comte  de  la  Marck  that,  " given 

*  Malet-du-Pin  was  said  to  be  the  sole  newspaper  man  in  Paris  during  the 
Revolution  who,  without  insult  or  flattery,  gave  correct  analyses  of  the  de 

1 88  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  IX. 

up  to  itself,  Paris  in  three  months  will  probably  be  a  hos 
pital,  and  certainly  a  theatre  of  horrors."  Honest  women 
were  no  safer  than  courtesans  from  arrest  and  insult,  and 
hardly  dared  to  cross  their  own  door-sills.  Loustolot 
wrote  that  there  was  not  a  citizen  in  Paris  who  dared  to 
say,  "  To-night  I  shall  sup  with  my  children." 

During  these  days,  Morris  employed  himself  with  the 
necessary  calculations  and  estimates  for  the  purchase  of 
the  debt  to  France,  preparatory  to  an  interview  with  M. 
Necker.  "I  go  this  evening"  [October  i3th],  says  the 
diary,  "  with  M.  Le  Coulteux  to  dine  with  M.  Necker. 
He  is  sombre  and  triste,  and  so  engrossed  by  the  affairs  of 
subsistence  that  I  cannot  speak  to  him  upon  the  other  sub 
ject.  At  dinner  Madame  de  Stael  seats  herself  next  to  me, 
and  repeats  part  of  the  conversation  of  the  other  day  at 
Madame  de  Flahaut's.  The  Count  Louis  de  Narbonne  has 
told  it  to  her.  I  apologize  for  my  share  in  it,  and  add 
that  I  had  rather  say  twice  as  much  to  her  face.  My 
apology,  which  is  the  reverse  of  an  excuse,  is  accepted,  and 
she  asks  why  I  do  not  come  to  see  her.  '  II  y  a  longtemps, 
madame,  que  je  desire  avoir  cet  honneur-la  ! '  Some  civil 
things  are  said  on  both  sides,  and  I  am  to  visit  this  even 

Quite  the  first  salon  of  Paris  at  this  time  was  that  over 
which  Madame  de  Stael  presided.  Her  regular  Tuesday 
evening  supper,  when  not  more  than  a  dozen  or  fifteen 
covers  were  laid  and  her  chosen  friends  were  admitted 
into  the  little  salon,  the  "  chambre  ardente,"  was  the  great 
feature  of  the  week.  Here,  the  candles  extinguished  to 
heighten  the  effect,  the  Abbe  Delille  declaimed  his  "  Cata 
combs  de  Rome,"  and  here  Clermont-Tonnerre  submitted 
to  the  criticism  of  his  friends  his  discourse  before  deliver 
ing  it  in  public.  Near  the  chimney  Necker  stood,  en 
tertaining  the  Bishop  of  Autun,  who  smiled  but  avoided 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  189 

talking.  Here  was  to  be  found  the  Duchesse  de  Lauzun, 
of  all  women  the  most  gentle  and  timid  ;  and  in  the  midst 
stood  the  hostess,  in  her  favorite  attitude  before  the  fire, 
with  her  hands  behind  her  back,  a  large,  leonine  woman, 
with  few  beauties  and  no  grace  of  gesture.  She  neverthe 
less  animated  the  salon  by  her  masculine  attitude  and  pow 
erful  conversation.  When  Morris  entered  the  charmed 
circle  on  this  particular  Tuesday,  he  found,  he  says,  "  De 
Narbonne,  who  is  of  course  with  Madame  de  Stael  this 
evening.  M.  de  Montmorin  is  also  there,  with  his  daughter, 
and  a  madame  de  Coigny,  said  to  have  beaucoup  d'esprit. 
I  feel  very  stupid  in  this  group,  which  by  degrees  goes  off 
and  leaves  madame,  three  gentlemen,  and  myself.  As  soon 
as  supper  appears  I  make  my  exit,  promising  her  to  come 
again.  Much  anxiety  is  felt  about  the  situation  of  public 
affairs.  Le  Coulteux  owned  to  me  this  afternoon  that  he 
has  no  hopes  of  a  constitution  but  from  the  hand  of  the 

"  This  morning  [October  i4th]  General  Dalrymple  * 
spends  two  hours  with  me.  Tell  him  he  must  introduce 
me  to  the  King's  banker,  who,  he  says,  is  very  rich. 
Tell  him  that  I  desire  such  an  introduction  because 
I  think  I  shall  possess  information  as  to  things  in  this 
country  from  which  money  may  be  made.  He  asks  im 
mediately  if  I  would  advise  speculations  in  their  funds  at 
present,  to  which  I  reply  in  the  negative.  He  tells  me 
that  the  Duke  of  Orleans  is  off  for  England  ;  he  wants  to 
know  my  opinion  as  to  his  journey.  I  am  surprised  at 
this,  but  conclude  that  some  transactions  of  his  Royal 
Highness  have  been  discovered  which  would  involve  dis 
agreeable  consequences,  and  that  the  King  has  desired 
him  to  go  off  by  way  of  avoiding  inquiry.  It  is  said  that  he 

*  General  Sir  Howe  Whiteford  Dalrymple,  a  British  general,  fought  in  sev 
eral  campaigns  in  the  war  against  France. 


has  gone  on  business  of  a  public  nature,  but  this,  I  think, 
must  be  an  excuse,  because  no  man  in  France  is  more  per 
sonally  disagreeable  to  the  King  of  England.  Go  to  dine 
at  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  She  receives  a  note  from  the 
Bishop  d'Autun.  He  is  to  be  with  her  at  half-past  five. 
She  insists  that  I  shall  leave  her  at  five.  I  put  on  a  de 
cent  share  of  coldness.  Go  to  the  club  and  inquire  a  little 
about  the  departure  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  who  certainly 
is  sent  by  the  King  in  a  diplomatic  capacity,  but  there 
must  be  some  reason  not  diplomatic.  Go  from  thence  to 
General  Dalrymple's,  where  two  gentlemen  of  this  coun 
try  are  drinking  hard.  A  lady  of  a  certain  sort  is  at  the 
table.  Later  I  see  Madame  de  Flahaut ;  she  tells  me  that 
the  Bishop  will  not  accept  of  the  Finances  under  Necker. 
She  is  leaving  soon,  and  we  are  to  dine  a  trio  with  the 
Bishop  at  four  to-morrow." 

"  To-day  at  four  [October  i5th]  T  go  to  the  Louvre  as 
arranged.  We  wait  till  near  five  before  the  Bishop  comes 
from  Versailles,  and  then  sit  down  to  an  excellent  dinner. 
She  engages  us  to  sup  at  Madame  de  Laborde's.*  I  go 
away  and  visit  Madame  de  Segur,  who  begins  a  conversa 
tion  which  is  broken  in  upon  by  the  arrival  of  two  visit 
ors.  Go  from  thence  to  Madame  de  Corney's.  She  is  in 
bed  and  has  a  very  disagreeable  cough.  Go  to  Madame 
de  Chastellux's  :  the  Duchess  is  there,  as  usual  ;  also  the 
Vicomte  de  Segur.  Some  politics  with  him.  Madame  de 
'Segur  comes  in  late  ;  has  been  detained  by  her  visitors. 
Requests  me  to  visit  Lafayette  and  pray  him  not  to  go 
into  the  Council.  I  decline,  but  at  last,  upon  her  urgency, 
promise  to  write  him  a  letter  to-morrow.  Go  thence  to  the 

*  The  most  sumptuous  table,  perhaps,  in  Paris  was  that  of  M.  de  Laborde, 
over  which  presided  his  wife,  a  sensible  woman,  who,  wiser  than  many  others 
of  the  financial  set,  took  with  pleasure  and  graciously  the  advances  of  the 
grandes  dames,  but  withal  maintained  her  dignity. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  191 

Louvre  ;  madame  is  dressing  ;  is  much  fatigued.  The 
Bishop  arrives ;  I  tell  him  my  intention  of  writing  to  La 
fayette.  He  approves  of  it,  and  observes  that  he  must  be 
preserved  because  he  is  useful.  He  tells  me  that  he  will 
not  accept  of  a  place  in  the  present  administration,  and  I 
approve  of  that  determination.  He  is  received  with  in 
finite  attention  at  Madame  de  Laborde's,  which  proves  that 
they  expect  he  will  be  somebody.  Madame  de  Flahaut's 
countenance  glows  with  satisfaction  in  looking  at  the 
Bishop  and  myself  as  we  sit  together,  agreeing  in  senti 
ment  and  supporting  the  opinions  of  each  other.  What 
triumph  for  a  woman.  I  leave  her  to  go  home  with  him." 
"To-day  [October  i6th]  I  call  upon  M.  Necker  and 
mention  to  him  the  idea  of  raising  the  price  of  bread  in 
Paris  by  making  the  difference  fall  on  those  who  employ 
workmen  ;  so  that,  estimating  it  at  two  sous,  the  master 
should  be  obliged,  when  bread  is  at  four,  to  allow,  say,  two, 
three,  or  four  sous  additional.  Also  start  to  him  the  idea 
of  asking  the  Assembly  to  appropriate  a  sum  to  the  sup 
ply  of  Paris.  To  the  first  he  replies  that  there  is  no  wheat 
to  be  got,  and  he  treats  responsibility  to  the  nation  for 
such  use  of  public  money  with  contempt.  I  tell  him  that 
he  must  not  count  on  supplies  from  England  ;  at  this  he 
seems  alarmed.  I  offer  my  services  to  obtain  it  from 
America.  He  thanks  me,  but  has  already  given  his 
orders,  which  I  knew,  or  I  should  not  have  said  so  much. 
He  makes  no  mention  of  the  debt,  nor  I  either.  Go  from 
thence  to  the  club,  and  hear  a  little  of  the  sentiment  en 
tertained,  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans.  His  friends  appear 
chopfallen  and  defend  him,  which  is  absurd,  for  they 
know  not  enough  of  the  matter  to  make  an  able  defence, 
or,  if  they  know,  conceal  that  knowledge,  which  comes  to 
the  same  thing.  Visit  at  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  At 
eight  the  Duchess  comes  in,  and  remarks  to  me  upon  her 


punctuality  ;  afterwards  Madame  de  Segur,  who  tells  me 
that  M.  de  Lafayette  does  not  go  into  the  Council,  at  least 
for  the  present.  After  making  tea,  etc.,  I  visit  Madame 
de  Flahaut,  who  has  just  returned  from  the  opera.  The 
Bishop  comes  in  and  I  read  my  letter  to  Lafayette,  she 
translating,  but  Capellis  comes  in  before  it  is  finished  and 
stays  till  twelve,  when  we  all  take  leave." 

The  letter  referred  to,  after  a  careful  revision  by  Ma 
dame  de  Flahaut  and  the  Bishop  of  Autun,  Morris  sent 
to  Lafayette  on  the  iyth  of  October.  It  is  as  follows  : 

PARIS,  October  16,  1789. 

I  took  the  liberty,  in  some  late  conversation,  to  give  my  sentiments  on 
public  affairs.  I  know  the  folly  of  offering  opinions  which  bear  the  ap 
pearance  of  advice,  but  a  regard  for  you,  and  the  sincerest  wishes  for  the 
prosperity  of  this  kingdom,  pushed  me  beyond  the  line  which  caution 
would  have  drawn  for  one  of  less  ardent  temper.  1  do  not  wish  you  to 
consider  this  as  apology ;  on  the  contrary,  I  desire  you  to  recollect,  both 
now  and  hereafter,  the  substance  of  those  conversations.  In  that  progress 
of  events  which  rapidly  advances,  you  will  judge  my  judgment. 

I  am  convinced  that  the  proposed  constitution  cannot  serve  for  the  gov 
ernment  of  this  country ;  that  the  National  Assembly,  late  the  object  of 
enthusiastic  attachment,  will  soon  be  treated  with  disrespect ;  that  the 
extreme  licentiousness  of  your  people  will  render  it  indispensable  to  in 
crease  the  royal  authority ;  that  under  such  circumstances  the  freedom 
and  happiness  of  France  must  depend  on  the  wisdom,  integrity,  and  firm 
ness  of  His  Majesty's  councils,  and,  consequently,  that  the  ablest  and  best 
men  should  be  added  to  the  present  administration  ;  that,  so  far  as  regards 
yourself,  you  should  take  care  that  those  who  come  in  be  sensible  of  the 
obligation  they  owe  you,  disposed  to  repay  it,  and  of  a  temper  neither  to 
desert  you  nor  their  sovereign  nor  each  other,  in  the  moment  of  danger 
or  for  the  sake  of  advantage  ;  I  consider  the  present  time  as  critical,  and 
that  if  neglected,  many  irreparable  mischiefs  must  ensue.  Such  are  the 
bodings  of  a  mind  not  easily  ruffled  nor  alarmed,  but  feelingly  alive  to  the 
interests  of  friendship  and  devotedly  attached  to  the  liberties  of  mankind. 
Certainly,  you  have  much  better  means  of  information  than  I  have.  Cer 
tainly,  you  have  that  intimate  knowledge  of  your  own  nation  which  it  is 
impossible  for  a  stranger  to  acquire,  and  most  certainly  you  have  perfect 

1789]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  193 

acquaintance  with  the  characters  which  stand  forward  for  public  observa 

Let  what  I  have  said,  therefore,  go  for  nothing  ;  I  have  repeated  it  here 
as  being  in  some  sort  the  needful  introduction  to  what  I  am  now  to  com 
municate.  Last  evening,  in  company  with  some  of  your  friends  who  sup 
posed  me  to  enjoy  a  share  of  your  confidence,  in  which  I  assured  them, 
with  great  truth,  that  they  were  mistaken,  I  was  urged  to  visit  and  entreat 
you  not  to  go  into  the  Council.  Knowing  how  much  you  are  occupied  and 
how  improper  it  is  for  me  to  interfere,  I  declined  the  visit,  but  was  at 
length  prevailed  on  by  earnest  entreaty  to  promise  that  I  would  in  a  letter 
assign  the  reasons  which  influence  them  :  r.  That  your  present  command 
must  of  necessity  engross  your  time  and  require  undissipated  attention  ; 
and  in  consequence,  that  you  must  fail  in  the  duty  either  of  minister  or 
general.  2.  That  when  in  Council  your  opinions  will  not  have  more  weight, 
and  perhaps  less,  than  they  have  at  present,  because  at  present  they  are  re 
spected  as  coming  from  you,  but  will  only  be  received  in  Council  accord 
ing  to  the  reasons  adduced  in  their  support,  and  it  is  not  always  that  the 
wisest  man  is  the  most  eloquent.  3.  If  your  opinions  do  not  prevail,  you 
will  have  the  mortification  to  sanction  by  your  presence  the  measures  which 
you  disapprove,  or  quit  in  disgust  the  seat  which  you  have  taken.  4.  If 
your  opinions  prevail,  you  will  then,  in  your  quality  of  general,  be  called  on 
to  execute  what,  in  your  quality  of  councillor,  you  had  ordained.  In  this 
situation  the  public  opinion  will  revolt  unless  it  be  subdued.  The  one 
will  ruin  you  and  the  other  your  country.  5.  The  jealousy  and  suspicion 
inseparable  from  tumultuous  revolutions,  and  which  have  already  been 
maliciously  pointed  against  you,  will  certainly  follow  all  your  future  steps 
if  you  appear  to  be  too  strictly  connected  with  the  Court.  The  founda 
tions  of  your  authority  will  then  crumble  away,  and  you  fall,  the  object  of 
your  own  astonishment.  6.  The  retreat  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  is  attrib 
uted  to  you,  and  if  you  go  into  the  Council  immediately  after  what  is  called 
by  some  his  flight,  and  by  others  his  banishment,  the  two  events  will  be 
coupled  in  a  manner  particularly  disadvantageous  and  disagreeable.  7. 
If  you  go  into  the  ministry  with  Mirabeau,  or  about  the  same  time,  every 
honest  Frenchman  will  ask  himself  the  cause  of  what  he  will  call  a  very 
strange  coalition.  There  are  in  the  world  men  who  are  to  be  employed, 
not  trusted.  Virtue  must  ever  be  sullied  by  an  alliance  with  vice,  and 
liberty  will  blush  at  her  introduction  if  led  by  a  hand  polluted.  Lastly,  I 
am  earnestly,  most  earnestly,  requested  by  those  who  love  you  well  to  add 
one  caution  as  to  your  friends  :  Trust  those  who  had  that  honor  before 
the  1 2th  of  July.  New  friends  are  zealous,  they  are  ardent,  they  are  at 
tentive,  but  they  are  seldom  true. 

Excuse  the  liberty  of  an  old  one,  who  is,  truly  yours, 



"  Laurent  Le  Coulteux  dines  with  me  to-day  [October 
1 7th],  and  we  enter  into  conversation  about  the  shipment 
of  wheat  and  flour  from  America.  I  give  him  informa 
tion,  and  tell  him  if  he  chooses  to  take  an  interest  in  such 
business  he  may  have  it.  My  indifference  makes  him  de 
sirous  of  it.  He  proposes  a  concern  in  thirds,  to  which  I 
assent,  and  desire  him  to  prepare  his  letters  and  send  them 
to  me.  We  then  speak  of  the  tobacco  business.  He  is 
very  unwilling  to  give  the  credit  I  require,  hesitates,  and 
tries  to  evade  it.  Luckily  my  carriage  arrives,  and  I  tell 
him  that  a  pressing  engagement  obliges  me  to  leave  him. 
Drive  to  the  Louvre  and  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  the 
convent  to  visit  her  religieuse,  Maman  Trent,  who  is  as 
much  of  this  world  as  one  devoted  to  the  other  can  be. 
The  old  lady  admires  her  looks,  and  will  not  believe  that 
she  has  been  indisposed.  We  return  again  ;  I  leave  her 
to  receive  the  Bishop.  She  drops  an  expression,  for  the 
first  time,  respecting  him  which  is  cousin-german  to  con 
tempt.  I  may,  if  I  please,  wean  her  from  all  regard  to 
wards  him.  But  he  is  the  father  of  her  child,  and  it  would 
be  unjust.  The  secret  is  that  he  wants  the  fortiter  in  re, 
though  he  abounds  with  the  suaviter  in  modo,  and  this  last 
will  not  do  alone.  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux ;  the 
Duchess  is  there,  the  Marechal  and  Vicomte  de  Segur  ; 
make  tea.  A  person  comes  in  and  tells  the  Duchess  that 
her  husband  is  stopped  at  Boulogne.  She  is  much  af 
fected  ;  we  undertake  to  assure  her  that  it  cannot  be — 
though  there  is  every  reason  to  suppose  that,  in  the  pres 
ent  disordered  state  of  the  kingdom,  he  would  not  pass. 
She  is  very  solicitous  to  know  the  truth,  and  I  go  to  M. 
de  Lafayette's  to  inquire  it.  He  is  not  at  home,  or,  rather, 
if  I  may  judge  from  appearances,  he  is  not  visible. 
Thence  to  M.  de  Montmorin's,  who  is  abroad.  Return  to 
Madame  de  Chastellux's  ;  the  poor  Duchess  is  penetrated 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  195 

with  gratitude  for  this  slight  attempt  to  serve  her.  It  is 
very  hard  that  a  heart  so  good  should  be  doomed  to  suffer 
so  much.  Take  leave  ;  she  follows  me  out  to  express 
again  her  thankfulness.  Poor  lady  !  Go  to  Madame  de 
StaeTs  ;  a  pretty  numerous  company  ;  a  great  deal  of  vi 
vacity,  which  I  do  not  enter  into  sufficiently.  She  asks 
me,  while  I  sit  next  to  Narbonne,  if  I  continue  to  think  she 
has  a  preference  for  M.  de  Tonnerre.  I  reply  only  by  ob 
serving  that  they  have  each  of  them  wit  enough  for  one 
couple,  and  therefore  I  think  they  had  better  separate 
and  take  each  a  partner  who  is  un  peu  bete.  I  do  not  enter 
enough  into  the  ton  of  this  society.  After  supper  some 
gentlemen  come  in,  who  tell  us  that  there  is  a  riot  in  the 
Faubourg  St.  Antoine.  We  have  had  a  great  deal  of  news 
this  evening ;  a  number  of  insurrections  in  different 
places.  It  is  affirmed  by  madame,  on  good  authority, 
that  the  Duke  is  stopped.  Go  from  thence  to  the  club, 
where  we  learn  that  the  supposed  riot  is  a  false  alarm. 
But  my  servant  tells  me  that  they  expect  one  to-morrow, 
and  have  ordered  out  a  large  body  of  troops  at  eight 
o'clock  in  the  morning.  The  grenadiers  of  the  late 
French  guards  insist  on  keeping  possession  of  the 
King's  person.  This  is  natural.  It  has  been  a  fine  day 
— something  like  what  we  call  in  America  the  second 

"At  the  club   [October   i8th]  M. ,  who  is  one  of 

the  entours  of  M.  de  Lafayette,  tells  me  that  the  friends 
of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  will  (it  is  apprehended)  denounce 
him  tp  the  Assemblee  Nationale,  so  as  to  oblige  him  to 
return,  they  expecting  that  his  popularity  in  Paris  will 
make  him  triumph  over  his  enemies.  He  wishes  me  to 
go  and  dine  with  Lafayette,  but  this  cannot  be  ;  besides  I 
will  not  again  trouble  him  with  advice  unless  he  asks  it, 
and  perhaps  not  then.  At  three  visit  Madame  de  Flahaut 


The  Bishop  is  with  her.  Converse  about  the  intended 
changes  in  administration.  I  insist  that  Mirabeau  be  not 
brought  into  the  Council,  that  they  are  mistaken  in  sup 
posing  he  can  after  that  elevation  preserve  his  influence 
in  the  Assembly  ;  that  introducing  a  man  of  such  bad 
character  will  injure  them  in  public  opinion,  and  that 
everything  depends  in  the  present  moment  upon  the  pres 
ervation  of  that  opinion.  The  Bishop  tells  me  that  in 
his  opinion  no  administration  can  work  well  in  which  M. 
Necker  has  a  share.  After  he  is  gone  Madame  tells  me 
that  Lafayette  is  determined  not  to  let  Montesquieu  into 
the  war  department.  This  Mirabeau  told  the  Bishop,  and 
Montesquieu  told  her  that  Necker  declares  the  calcula 
tions  in  the  Bishop's  motion  are  pitiful.  This  accounts 
for  his  opinion  delivered  to  me.  Lafayette  has  committed 
a  great  blunder  in  opening  himself  to  Mirabeau.  If  he 
employs  him  it  will  be  disgraceful,  and  if  he  neglects  him 
it  will  be  dangerous,  because  every  conversation  gives 
him  rights  and  means.  She  tells  me  that  the  Bishop  has 
invited  himself  to  dine  with  her  every  day.  We  laugh 
and  chat.  I  go  to  General  Dalrymple's  to  dinner.  The 
General  says  he  is  well  informed  that  the  Due  d'Orleans 
was  on  his  knees  to  entreat  pardon  of  the  King.  De 
spatches  are  sent  off  to  urge  his  dismission  from  his 
keepers  at  Boulogne.  The  conversation  is  turned  by  de 
grees  to  American  aifairs,  and  I  tell  them  (which  is  true) 
that  they  have  committed  an  error  in  not  sending  a  minis 
ter  to  America.  They  are  vastly  desirous  of  convincing 
me  that  an  alliance  with  Britain  would  be  for  our  inter 
est,  and  I  swallow  all  their  arguments  and  observations 
in  such  a  way  as  to  induce  the  belief  that  I  am  convinced, 
or  at  least  in  the  way  of  conviction.  The  young  man 
thinks  he  has  done  wonders.  From  thence  I  go  to  the 
Louvre,  though  I  had  determined  not.  The  Cardinal  de 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  197 

Rohan  *  is  with  Madame.  We  talk  among  other  things 
about  religion,  for  the  Cardinal  is  very  devout.  He  was 
once  the  lover  of  Madame's  sister,  and  much  beloved.  He 
says  the  King  is  not  the  fool  he  is  supposed  to  be,  and 
gives  instances  to  prove  it  ;  but  the  Cardinal  is  not  the 
man  of  sense  he  was  supposed  to  be,  and  therefore  his 
evidence  is  not  to  be  taken  blindly.  Shortly  after  the 
Cardinal  goes,  M.  de  St.  Venau  comes  in  and  I  take  my 

After  much  discussion  and  trouble,  Morris  and  M.  Le 
Coulteux  finally  agreed  to  import  30,000  barrels  of  flour 
from  America  as  soon  as  possible — "having,"  as  Mor 
ris  says,  "in  contemplation  the  relief  of  those  wants 
which  I  foresee  will  take  place  here  the  ensuing  spring." 
"I  am  persuaded,"  he  wrote  at  this  time,  in  a  very  graphic 
letter  to  Robert  Morris,  "for  my  own  part,  that  this  gov 
ernment  must  feel  secure  in  the  article  of  subsistence  be 
fore  they  take  the  measures  needful  for  the  order  which 
is  indispensable.  Everything  now  is  as  it  were  out  of 
joint.  The  army  without  discipline  or  obedience.  The 
civil  magistracy  annihilated.  The  finances  deplorable. 
They  have  no  fixed  system  to  get  through  the  difficulties, 
but  live  upon  expedients,  and  are  at  the  mercy  of  projec 
tors.  A  country  so  situated  may  starve  in  one  province 
while  another  suffers  from  its  abundance.  There  is  no 
order  anywhere.  I  have  only  once  attended  the  delibera 
tions  of  the  National  Assembly  since  September.  Indeed 
that  once  has  fully  satisfied  my  curiosity.  It  is  impos 
sible  to  imagine  a  more  disorderly  Assembly.  They 
neither  reason,  examine,  nor  discuss.  They  clap  those 
whom  they  approve  and  hiss  those  whom  they  disap 
prove.  But  if  I  attempted  a  description  I  should  never 

*  Cardinal  de  Rohan,  so  famous  for  his  complicity  in  the  affair  of  the  dia 
mond  necklace. 


have  done.  That  day  I  dined  in  company  with  the  Pres 
ident,  and  told  him  frankly  that  it  was  impossible  for  such 
a  mob  to  govern  this  country.  They  have  unhinged  ev 
erything.  The  executive  authority  is  reduced  to  a  name. 
Everything  almost  is  elective,  and  consequently  no  one 
obeys.  It  is  an  anarchy  beyond  conception,  and  they  will 
be  obliged  to  take  back  their  chains  for  some  time  to  come 
at  least.  And  so  much  for  that  licentious  spirit  which 
they  dignify  with  the  name  of  'Love  of  Liberty.'  Their 
Literati,  whose  heads  are  turned  by  romantic  notions 
picked  up  in  books,  and  who  are  too  lofty  to  look  down 
upon  that  kind  of  man  which  really  exists,  and  too  wise 
to  heed  the  dictates  of  common-sense  and  experience, 
have  turned  the  heads  of  their  countrymen,  and  they  have 
run-a-muck  at  a  Don  Quixote  constitution  such  as  you  are 
blessed  with  in  Pennsylvania.  I  need  say  no  more.  You 
will  judge  of  the  effects  of  such  a  constitution  upon  peo 
ple  supremely  depraved." 

"To-day  [October  ipth],  I  hear  the  purport  of  Cantaleu's 
conversation  with  M.  Necker  about  the  debt  of  the  United 
States  to  France.  This  last  demands  a  million  louis,  which 
I  think  too  much,  and  says  that  he  cannot  think  of  pre 
senting  to  the  public  view  a  bargain  in  which  he  gets  less 
than  twenty-four  millions  [francs].  This  afternoon  I  drive 
with  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  the  Bois  de  Boulogne,  but  we 
are  stopped  for  want  of  a  passport  at  the  barriere.  We 
make  a  short  visit  at  the  convent.  Madame  is  in  much  grief 
over  the  loss  of  her  income.  The  reduction  of  her  broth 
er's  affairs,  who  is  superintendent  of  the  King's  building, 
takes  some  of  her  support  from  her  ;  and  4,000  which  was 
due  by  the  Comte  d'Artois  vanishes  with  his  Royal  High- 
ness's  person.  Thus  there  remains  but  12,000,  and  those 
badly  paid,  being  a  rente  viagere.  With  this  little  income 
it  is  impossible  to  live  in  Paris.  She  must  then  abandon 

1789.)  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  199 

her  friends,  her  hopes,  everything.  Shortly  after  we  ar 
rive  at  the  Louvre  M.  de  Montesquieu  comes  in,  and  dis 
cusses  the  motion  of  the  Bishop  d'Autun.  He  disapproves 
of  the  calculations.  He  is  right  in  his  observations,  which 
are  precisely  those  which  I  made  to  the  Bishop  previous 
to  his  motion.  However,  good  may  be  drawn  from  the 
business  eventually.  Leave  them,  promising  to  return. 
Go  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's,  and,  as  usual,  make  tea 
for  the  Duchess.  Nothing  here  but  the  usual  chat.  Ma 
dame  de  Segur  is  here  and  Mr.  Short.  Return  to  the 
Louvre.  The  Marechal  de  Segur  tells  us  at  Madame  de 
Chastellux's  that  Mirabeau  was  to  be  in  the  ministry. 
Madame  de  Flahaut  tells  me  that  Montesquieu  says  he  is 
false  to  the  Bishop,  and  is  to  go  with  Necker  conjointly 
into  the  finances.  She  is  anxious  to  see  the  Bishop  this 
evening  ;  she  is  ill  and  apprehends  a  fever,  but  I  restore 
her  considerably  by  the  aid  of  a  little  soup." 

200  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 


Denis  Frangois  accused  of  secreting  bread  and  beheaded.  Paris  aban 
doned  to  cruelty  and  violence.  Martial  law  passed  by  the  Assembly. 
The  Duke  of  Orleans  liberated.  He  goes  to  England..  At  the  club. 
Chit-chat  in  Madame  deFlahaut's  salon.  Belgrade  surrenders.  Anec 
dote  of  the  5th  of  October.  Clermont  de  Tonnerre  proposes  going 
to  America.  Morris  asked  his  plan  for  restoring  order  to  France. 
Necker  unable  to  cope  with  the  difficulties.  Dinner  at  Madame 
Necker's.  Talk  about  Lafayette's  connection  with  Mirabeau  and 
with  Necker  on  plans  for  subsistence.  News  from  Flanders.  Asked 
to  take  part  in  the  administration  of  affairs.  Dines  with  the  Duchess 
of  Orleans.  Takes  the  Bishop  of  Autun  to  visit  Lafayette.  The 
Assembly  suspends  the  parlements.  Criticisms  on  the  society  in  Ma 
dame  de  Stael's  salon.  Lively  dinner  conversation  with  Madame  de 

IT  was  on  Wednesday,  the  2ist  of  October,  that  a  wom 
an  started  the  cry  that  Denis  Francois,  the  baker,  had 
secreted  bread.     The  shop  was  mobbed,  and  a  few  loaves 
were  found  put  aside  for  the  family  consumption. 

"There  has  been  hanged  a  baker  this  morning  by  the 
populace,  and  all  Paris  is  under  arms,"  says  the  diary. 
"The  poor  baker  was  beheaded  according  to  custom,  and 
carried  in  triumph  through  the  streets.  He  had  been  all 
night  at  work  for  the  purpose -of  supplying  the  greatest 
possible  quantity  of  bread  this  morning.  His  wife  is  said 
to  have  died  of  horror  when  they  presented  her  husband's 
head  stuck  on  a  pole.  Surely  it  is  not  the  usual  order  of 
Divine  Providence  to  leave  such  abominations  unpun 
ished.  Paris  is  perhaps  as  wicked  a  spot  as  exists.  In 
cest,  murder,  bestiality,  fraud,  rapine,  oppression,  base 
ness,  cruelty ;  and  yet  this  is  the  city  which  has  stepped 


forward  in  the  sacred  cause  of  liberty.  The  pressure  of  in 
cumbent  despotism  removed,  every  bad  passion  exerts  its 
peculiar  energy.  How  the  conflict  will  terminate  Heaven 
knows.  Badly  I  fear ;  that  is  to  say,  in  slavery.  The 
court  of  the  Louvre  is  occupied  by  cavalry.  Go  to  the 
Champs  Elysees  where  I  see  General  Dalrymple.  He  tells 
me  some  additional  circumstances  of  what  is  passing  in 
Austrian  Flanders.  There  is  great  reason  to  believe  that 
the  Stadtholder,  supported  by  Prussia,  will  possess  himself 
of  that  valuable  territory.  While  they  are  about  it  they 
may  as  well  take  some  of  the  strong  posts  which  France 
holds  there,  with  some  of  the  little  principalities  upon  the 
eastern  quarter,  and  then  these  Low  Countries  will  form  a 
very  powerful  state.  Discord  seems  to  extend  itself  more 
and  more  through  this  kingdom,  which  is  remotely  threat 
ened  with  a  disunion  of  its  provinces. 

"  There  is  nothing  new  at  the  club  this  evening,  but  the 
Bishop  of  Autun  brought  the  latest  news  to  Madame  de 
Flahaut.  He  tells  us  that  the  Assembly  have  passed 
what  they  call  the  law  martial,  but  which  is,  properly 
speaking,  a  riot  act.  The  Garde  des  Sceaux  has  defended 
himself  this  day  before  the  Assembly  tolerably.  The 
Bishop  seems  to  have  no  great  desire  for  a  post  in  the  ad 
ministration  at  present.  I  think  this  arises  partly  from 
disappointment  and  partly  from  apprehension.  I  urge 
again  the  necessity  of  establishing  among  the  candidates 
for  places  such  arrangements  and  good  understanding  as 
may  endure  when  in  office,  and  contribute  to  the  attain 
ment  of  it.  After  dinner  the  Bishop  goes  away  and  Ca- 
pellis  comes  in  with  Madame  d'Angiviliers.  Some  inci 
dents  related  in  the  conversation  to  show  that  M.  de  Nar- 
~bonne,  Madame  de  StaeTs  friend,  is  'un  fort  mauvais 
sujet,'  which  accords  well  with  a  certain  obliquity  of  as 
pect  that  distinguishes  a  countenance  otherwise  good. 


Go  from  hence  to  Madame  de  Chastellux.  The  Vicomte 
de  Segur  gives  me  a  book  he  has  written,  and  desires  that 
I  will  give  him  my  candid  opinion  of  it.  It  is  a  supposed 
correspondence  between  Nifion  de  1'Enclos  and  her  lover, 
the  Marquis  de  Villarceaux.  The  Duchess  receives  a  note 
from  the  Due  de  Biron  that  the  Due  d'Orleans  embarked 
yesterday  at  nine  in  the  morning  with  a  fair  wind  for 
England.  It  is  said  that  three  persons  are  to  be  hanged 
to-morrow,  by  due  course  of  law,  for  putting  the  baker  to 
death.  They  are  wrong  to  defer  the  execution." 

"At  the  club  to-day  [Oct.  22d]  I  enter  into  some  discus 
sions  with  a  member  of  the  iStats-Generaux  or  Assemblee 
Nationale,  who  shows  his  own  imbecility.  At  leaving  the 
room  the  company  almost  commit  the  indecency,  so  com 
mon  in  the  Assemblee,  of  clapping  the  speaker  they  ap 
prove.  One  of  them  follows  me  out  to  mention  that  it  is 
in  vain  to  show  light  to  the  blind.  N'importe.  Go  to 
Madame  de  Flahaut's.  She  has  with  her  the  Due  de 
Biron,  who  soon  leaves  her.  She  tells  me  an  anecdote  of 
Lafayette,  not  much  to  his  honor ;  he  had  said  in  his  lit 
tle  society  of  Madame  de  Simiane,  in  speaking  of  the  Due 
d'Orleans,  '  Ses  lettres  de  creance  sont  des  lettres  de  grace.' 
The  Due  de  Biron  who  knows  all  the  steps  taken  with  the 
Due  d'Orleans  (his  friend),  wrote  to  Lafayette  on  this  sub 
ject,  and  has  received  an  answer  in  which  he  tells  him, 
1  Je  n'ai  pas  pu  me  servir  d'une  telle  expression  puisqu'il 
n'y  a  aucun  indice  contre  le  due  d'Orleans.'  She  says 
she  has  seen  the  letter.  Undoubtedly  the  Due  de  Biron 
will  make  it  tolerably  public.  I  leave  when  the  Marquis 
de  Montesquiou  comes  in,  and  visit  Madame  de  Chas 
tellux.  The  Duchess  arrives  late,  having  been  to  visit  the 
Queen.  Madame  de  Chastellux  tells  me  the  position  of 
affairs  in  this  family.  We  discuss  the  line  of  conduct 
which  the  Princess  ought  to  pursue,  and  as  she  is  in  the 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  203 

hands  of  the  Vicomte  de  Segur  and  of  Madame  de  Chas- 
tellux,  I  think  she  will  act  with  a  degree  of  understanding 
and  firmness  not  natural  to  her.  From  thence  return,  ac 
cording  to  my  promise,  to  supper  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's. 
A  good  deal  of  random  chit-chat,  in  which  she  plays  the 
moqueuse  on  my  bad  French.  This  is  not  amiss.  Stay  till 
twelve  and  then  we  all  quit.  Two  persons  have  been 
hanged  this  afternoon  for  murdering  the  baker,  and  there 
are  two  or  three  more,  it  is  said,  to  be  hanged  to-mor 

"  Write  all  the  morning  [October  23d],  and  then  take 
Madame  de  Laborde  and  Madame  de  Tour  to  walk  in 
the  Champs  Elysees.  General  Dalrymple,  who  joins  us, 
tells  me  that  Belgrade  has  surrendered ;  and  he  also 
tells  me  of  certain  horrors  committed  in  Arras,  but  to 
these  things  we  are  familiarized.  Leave  Madame  de 
Laborde  and  I  go  to  M.  Le  Coulteux's.  After  a  few  min 
utes  M.  de  Cubieres  comes  in.  He  gives  me  a  ludicrous 

account  of  the  conduct  of  the  Due  de on  the  famous 

night  of  the  5th,  and  afterwards  mentions  the  interview 
between  Lafayette  and  his  sovereign — the  former  pale, 
oppressed,  and  scarce  able  to  utter  the  assurances  of 
his  attachment  ;  the  King,  calm  and  dignified.  The  first 
request  was  to  give  the  custody  of  the  royal  person  to 
the  former  Gardes  Franeais,  now  Milice  Nationale. 
This  was  conveyed  in  the  form  of  an  humble  prayer  to 
be  admitted  to  take  their  ancient  post.  Cubieres  was 
then  obliged  to  retire,  as  some  persons  had  entered  who 
had  no  right  to  be  present,  and  in  leaving  the  room  he 
was  obliged  to  retire  with  them.  From  thence  go  to 
Madame  de  Chastellux's.  The  Marechal  and  Comtesse 
de  Segur  are  there,  but  a  fifth  person  is  present,  which 
prevents  conversation  of  any  interest ;  at  a  quarter  after 
eight  I  retire,  leaving  a  message  for  the  Duchess,  who  has 

204  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

not  kept  her  appointment.  By  the  bye,  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut  hinted  this  morning  a  wish  to  be  among  the  women 
of  the  Duchess.  I  think  this  cannot  be,  mais  nous  ver- 
rons  s'il  y  a  une  place  qui  viendra  de  vaquer.  Visit  Ma 
dame  de  Stae'l.  Clermont-Tonnerre  is  there,  and  asks 
whether  he  can  be  decently  placed  in  America  for  60,000 
francs.  I  observe  that  he  is  despondent.  I  give  scope  to  my 
ideas  respecting  their  situation,  and  he  feels  from  thence 
no  small  remorse,  for,  in  fact,  the  evils  they  feel  arise  from 
their  own  folly.  Madame  gives  some  little  traits  of  re 
proach  for  the  weakness  of  mind  which  induces  an  idea  of 
retreat.  I  tell  him  that  I  have  abandoned  public  life,  I 
hope,  forever,  but  that  if  anything  could  prompt  a  wish  for 
a  return  it  would  be  the  pleasure  of  restoring  order  to 
this  country.  I  am  asked  what  is  my  plan.  I  tell  them 
that  I  have  none  fixed,  but  I  would  fix  my  object  and  take 
advantage  of  circumstances  as  they  rise  to  attain  it ;  as  to 
their  Constitution,  it  is  good  for  nothing — they  must  fall 
into  the  arms  of  royal  authority.  It  is  the  only  resource 
which  remains  to  rescue  them  from  anarchy.  Madame 
de  Stael  asks  me  if  my  friend  the  Bishop  will  sup  with 
her  this  evening.  'Madame,  peut-etre  M.  d'Autun 
viendra,  je  n'en  sais  rien,  mais  je  n'ai  pas  1'honneur 
de  son  amitieV  'Ah,  vous  etes  1'ami  de  son  amie.'  'A 
la  bonne  heure,  Madame,  par  cette  espece  de  consan- 
guiniteV  The  Bishop,  it  seems,  has  invited  himself  and 
M.  de  Tonnerre  to  sup  with  her.  Go  from  thence  to  Ma 
dame  de  Laborde's.  A  table  of  tric-trac,  and  a  good  deal 
of  chit-chat  after  it,  keep  us  till  one  o'clock. 

In  a  conversation  on  Saturday,  the  24th.  M.  de  Cantaleu 
told  Morris  "  that  Necker  had  sent  him  word  that  I  may 
make  my  propositions  regarding  the  debt  on  a  quar 
ter  of  a  sheet  of  paper.  Cantaleu,  like  the  rest,  is  very 
desponding  about  their  public  affairs.  He  says  Necker 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  20$ 

has  not  abilities  enough  to  get  through  his  business,  and 
that  there  is  equal  danger  in  holding  and  abandoning  his 
post.  This  is  very  true.  The  Ministry  and  Assembly  are 
on  the  eve  of  a  squabble,  whose  object  will  be  to  deter 
mine  which  of  them  is  to  blame  for  the  miserable  situation 
to  which  France  is  reduced.  There  is  to-night  at  Madame 
de  Chastellux's  the  usual  society.  The  Duchess  tells 
me  I  must  come  and  dine  with  her.  I  tell  her  I  am  al 
ways  at  her  orders  for  any  day  she  pleases.  She  tells  me 
to  come  when  I  please.  I  promise.  After  the  rest  of  the 
company  is  gone,  the  Chevalier  de  Foissy  and  I  stay  with 
Madame  de  Chastellux  and  chat  a  little.  She  says  she 
will  make  her  don  patriotique  by  presenting  me  to  the 
King  for  one  of  his  ministers.  I  laugh  at  the  jest,  and 
the  more  so  as  it  accords  with  an  observation  made  by 
Cantaleu  to  the  same  effect,  which  I  considered  as  bor 
dering  on  persiflage  at  least,  and  answered  accordingly." 

Mr.  Morris  mentions  on  Sunday,  the  25th,  spending 
the  evening  in  Madame  Necker's  salon.  "  M.  Necker," 
he  says,  "is  much  occupied,  and  I  cannot  speak  to  him. 
See  for  the  first  time  since  I  arrived  in  Europe  Count- 
Fersen,  whose  merit  consists  in  being  the  Queen's  lover. 
He  has  the  air  of  a  man  exhausted." 

On  Tuesday,  October  2yth,  an  invitation  came  to  dine 
with  Necker,  and  converse  about  the  French  debt.  "  I  go 
thither,"  Morris  says.  "  M.  de  Stael  is  very  polite  and 
attentive.  After  dinner  we  retire  to  the  minister's  cabi 
net.  Cantaleu  and  I  open  the  conversation.  Tell  M. 
Necker  that  the  terms  he  seems  attached  to  differ  so  ma 
terially  from  what  I  had  thought  of,  that  no  definitive  bar 
gain  can  be  made,  and  therefore,  after  fixing  the  terms,  I 
must  have  time  to  consult  persons  in  London  and  Amster 
dam  ;  that  he  is  the  best  judge  as  to  the  sum  below  which 
he  cannot  go  ;  that  I  will  not  attempt  to  bring  him  lower 

2C>6  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

than  what  he  thinks  he  can  justify,  but  if  it  is  too  high, 
I  am  off ;  that,  having  fixed  the  sum,  we  will  then  fix  the 
terms,  and  finally  he  must  be  bound  and  I  free  ;  that  it 
is  necessary  to  keep  the  transaction  secret,  because, 
whether  we  bargain  or  not,  if  my  name  be  mentioned,  it 
will  destroy  the  utility  of  my  friends  in  America,  who 
have  been  and  will  continue  to  be  firm  advocates  for  doing 
justice  to  everybody  ;  and  further,  that  if  it  be  known  in 
America  that  France  is  willing  to  abate,  it  will  be  a  mo 
tive  with  many  to  ask  abatements  on  the  part  of  the 
United  States.  He  feels  the  force  of  these  observations, 
and  desires  to  consider  how  far  he  and  M.  de  Montmorin 
can  treat  this  affair  without  the  Assembly.  He  does  not 
like  the  idea  of  being  bound,  and  leaving  me  free.  I  ob 
serve  to  him  that  nothing  is  more  natural.  He  is  master 
of  his  object,  and  can  say  yes  or  no.  But  I  must  apply  to 
others,  and  it  cannot  be  expected  that  rich  bankers  will 
hold  their  funds  at  my  disposal  upon  the  issue  of  an  un 
certain  event,  much  less  withdraw  those  funds  from  other 
occupation.  He  agrees  that  there  is  force  in  this  obser 
vation.  He  then  talks  of  ten  millions  per  annum  for  three 
years  as  being  a  proper  consideration.  I  tell  him  that  I 
cannot  agree  to  such  sum.  He  says  he  has  been  spoken 
to  about  it,  and  is  informed  that  he  can  discount  it  in  Hol 
land  at  twenty  per  cent.  I  tell  him  that  I  doubt  the  last, 
because,  having  been  in  correspondence  with  two  capital 
houses  in  Holland  relative  to  a  loan  which  I  am  author 
ized  to  make,  they  both  inform  me  that  the  several  loans 
now  opened  for  different  powers,  and  the  scarcity  of 
money,  renders  success  impossible.  De  Cantaleu  presses 
me  to  offer  terms.  I  mention  300,000  f.  a  month,  to  begin 
with  next  January,  and  continue  till  the  24,000,000  f.  are 
paid.  Here  this  part  of  the  conversation  ends.  He  is  to 
confer  with  Montmorin.  He  then  asks  me  about  the  ex- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  2O? 

port  of  wheat  and  flour  from  America  this  season.  I  re 
ply  that  my  answer  must  be  much  hazarded,  but  at  length 
estimate  that  it  may  amount  to  a  million  bushels  of  wheat 
and  300,000  barrels  of  flour.  He  proposes  the  question 
whether  there  be  not  goods  in  France  which,  sent  out  to 
America,  may  serve  for  the  purchase  of  flour.  I  tell  him 
no,  for  that  goods  will  sell  on  credit,  and  flour  for  cash. 
He  asks  whether  it  would  not  be  well  to  send  ships  to 
America  for  flour  on  the  part  of  the  King,  for  such  a 
scheme  has  been  proposed  to  him  from  Bordeaux.  I  tell 
him  no,  because  the  alarm  would  be  spread,  and  prices 
thereby  greatly  raised  ;  that  the  ships  should  be  char 
tered  in  such  a  way  as  to  be  bound  to  take  wheat,  flour, 
or  tobacco,  and  then  they  might  proceed  in  the  usual  line 
of  mercantile  speculation.  Finally  I  drop  the  idea  that 
six  weeks  ago  I  would  have  contracted  for  the  delivery  of 
one  hundred  to  one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  barrels  of 
flour,  at  a  fixed  price.  He  asks  with  vivacity  why  I  did 
not  propose  it.  I  reply  that  I  did  not  choose  to  push  my 
self  forward,  which  is  a  slight  hint  that  he  might,  if  he 
pleased,  have  applied  for  information.  He  asks  why  not 
propose  such  a  contract  now.  I  tell  him  that  the  order 
he  has  already  given  will,  I  fear,  raise  the  prices  too  high 
in  America.  He  says  it  is  a  trifle,  only  30,000  barrels.  I 
tell  him  it  is  60,000,  but  he  says  the  last  30,000  is  very  uncer 
tain.  Rather  presses  me  to  make  an  offer.  I  tell  him  I 
will  consider  of  it. 

"Leave  M.  Necker  and  go  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's. 
She  is  in  bed  and  in  tears  ;  fears  that  her  brother  is  killed, 
or  rather  dead  of  the  wounds  he  received  at  the  capture 
of  Belgrade.  I  give  her  all  the  comfort  which  the  case 
admits  of ;  viz.,  a  hope  that  it  is  not  so,  for,  by  suspending 
the  stroke  a  little  while,  its  eifect  is  less  forcible.  The  let 
ter  she  has  received,  and  which  she  shows  me,  looks  ill. 

208  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

Converse  a  little  with  Madame  de  Segur  about  our  friend 
Lafayette's  connection  with  Mirabeau.  She  wishes  to  know 
what  I  would  have  him  do.  I  tell  her  that  if  he  did  me 
the  honor  to  ask  my  advice,  I  could  not  give  him  any 
good  ;  that  he  has  reduced  himself  to  the  situation  of 
making  Mirabeau  a  dangerous  enemy  by  neglect,  or  still 
more  dangerous  friend  by  aiding  him  in  his  views  ;  that  it 
is  M.  Necker  who  now  plays  the  handsome  part.  He  will 
not  stay  in  the  ministry  if  Mirabeau  be  admitted.  Mira 
beau  insists  on  coming  in,  and  if  he  succeeds,  M.  Necker 
has  the  desired  opportunity  of  retiring  from  a  post  which 
at  present  it  is  equally  dangerous  to  keep  or  leave.  Being 
forced  out,  Mirabeau  will  be  obliged  by  the  general  opin 
ion  to  abandon  the  place  he  has  acquired,  and  then  a 
ministry  will  be  chosen  entirely  new.  She  wishes  much 
to  know  who  I  think  would  be  proper,  and  mentions  the 
Bishop  d'Autun  as  having  a  very  bad  reputation.  I  tell 
her  that  I  doubt  the  truth  of  what  is  said  against  him, 
because  there  are  facts  which  show  that  he  has  some  virt 
ue,  and  merits  confidence;  that  he  has  talents,  but  that, 
without  being  attached  to  him  or  any  other  person  in  par 
ticular,  I  am  persuaded  that  France  can  furnish  men  of 
abilities  and  integrity  for  the  first  offices  ;  that  M.  de 
Lafayette  should  discipline  his  troops,  because  his  friend 
Mirabeau  may  otherwise  turn  that  weapon  against  him." 

"  Dine  at  the  Palais  Royal  [October  28th]  with  Madame 
de  Rully,  who  sits  for  her  picture  in  crayons.  She  has  a 
mind  to  coquet  with  me,  because  she  has  the  same  mind 
as  to  everybody  else.  A  madame  de  Vauban  who  is  here 
is  a  disagreeable  looking  woman.  The  interior  of  this 
manage  is  very  much  like  the  Castle  of  Indolence.  Go 
from  thence  to  the  Louvre.  The  Bishop  is  with  madame; 
he  asked  a  dinner  with  her  son,  who  is  arrived  this  day. 
Quite  a  family  party.  He  goes  away,  and  I  tell  her  that 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS,  209 

I  am  sorry  to  have  interrupted  such  a  scene.  She  dwells 
much  upon  her  child  and  weeps  plenteously.  I  wipe  away 
the  tears  as  they  fall.  This  silent  attention  brings  forth 
professions  of  endless  affection.  She  means  every  word 
of  it  now,  but  nothing  here  below  can  last  forever.  We 
go  together  to  Madame  de  Laborde's  and  make  a  short 
visit,  the  child  being  in  company.  Set  her  down  at  the 
Louvre,  and  go  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  The  Duch 
ess,  who  was  not  well  at  dinner,  is  very  little  better  now, 
or  rather  she  is  worse  ;  the  usual  case  with  those  who  suf 
fer  from  the  lassitude  of  indolence.  Sleep  becomes  neces 
sary  from  the  want  of  exercise  as  well  as  from  the  excess 
of  it." 

"  After  dining  with  M.  Boutin,  I  go  to  Madame  Necker's 
[October  29th],  where  I  speak  to  M.  Necker  on  the  sub 
ject  of  subsistence.  He  catches  at  the  idea  of  a  con 
tract  for  20,000  barrels  of  flour,  but  will  not  make  the 
kind  of  contract  which  I  proposed.  He  asks  me  what  the 
flour  will  cost.  I  tell  him  it  will  cost  about  3o/  sterling, 
and  I  offer  to  deliver  it  at  3i/  ;  he  wishes  it  at  3o/,  and 
desires  me  to  write  him  a  note  on  the  subject,  that  he  may 
communicate  to  the  King.  He  will  not  listen  to  the  idea 
of  importing  pork  and  rice,  and  giving  them  to  the  poor. 
I  endeavor  to  show  him  that  by  doing  this  and  letting  the 
bread  be  sold  at  what  it  costs,  the  treasury  would  save,  be 
cause  few  would  accept  the  donation,  but  all  derive  advan 
tage  from  the  loss  on  bread.  He  is  wrong,  but  humanum 
est  errare.  Go  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  Her  brother 
is  dead.  The  Duchess  comes  in  late  and  the  tea  is  delayed, 
and  finally  I  am  obliged  by  the  various  delays  to  leave 
them  abruptly.  At  the  Louvre  madame  is  waiting  for  me. 
We  go  to  Madame  de  Laborde's  to  sup,  and  M.  d'Afry  and 
I  are,  it  seems,  each  to  drink  a  bottle  of  wine.  I  perform 
very  nearly  my  task,  but  he  declines  entirely.  The  wine  is 

210  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

good,  but  the  strongest  I  ever  tasted.  After  eating  an  en 
ormous  supper  to  accompany  the  liquor,  I  make  tea  and 
then  chat  with  the  ladies." 

"  At  dinner  I  hear  [October  3oth]  the  news  from  Flan 
ders.  The  Austrian  Netherlands  seem  to  be  in  a  fair  way 
of  shaking  off  the  yoke,  and  it  is  said  that  they  have  a 
great  number  of  deserters,  both  officers  and  soldiers,  from 
the  Prussian  army.  It  is  to  be  concluded  that  Prussia  is 
concerned  in  the  business,  and  if  so  England  may  proba 
bly  be  also  for  something.  Indeed,  this  opportunity  is 
most  inviting.  There  appears  to  me  no  good  reason  why 
all  the  Low  Countries  should  not  be  united  under  one  sov 
ereign,  and  why  they  should  not  possess  themselves  of  all 
the  strong  places  on  the  French  frontier,  Calais,  Lille, 
Tournay,  Douay,  Mons,  Namur,  and  even  Cambray,  in 
which  last  place  there  is  absolutely  no  garrison,  for  the 
milice  bourgeoise  have  insisted  on  doing  the  duty,  which 
they  are  now  heartily  tired  of.  Namur,  which  is  in  the 
Emperor's  dominions,  is  absolutely  dismantled.  Go,  after 
dinner,  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's  and  make  tea  for  the 
Duchess.  She  presses  me  to  come  and  dine  with  her  soon, 
with  Madame  de  Segur.  I  promise  for  Monday,  to  which 
Madame  de  Segur  agrees.  Go  to  Madame  de  StaeTs  ;  a 
conversation  too  brilliant  for  me.  Sup  and  stay  late.  I 
shall  not  please  here  because  I  am  not  sufficiently  pleased." 

"  Saturday  afternoon  [October  3 ist]  I  go  to  the  Louvre, 
and  get  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  correct  my  letter  to  M. 
Necker.  Capellis  mentions  to  me  the  supplying  of  Brest, 
Rochefort,  and  Toulon  with  flour,  and  says  he  believes  they 
have  already  ordered  it  from  America.  I  tell  him  that  M. 
de  la  Luzerne  would  have  done  well  to  consult  me  on  the 
subject ;  that  the  different  departments  sending  separate 
orders  to  different  people  necessarily  raised  the  prices 
upon  each  other.  Take  tea  with  Madame  de  Chastellux. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  211 

The  Duchess  comes  in.  M.  de  Foissi  tells  us  that  the  debate 
on  church  property  is  postponed  till  Monday,  at  the  in 
stance  of  Mirabeau,  and  that  it  was  thought  the  motion 
would  have  been  negatived  had  the  question  been  put 
this  day.  The  Duchess  reminds  me  of  the  promise  to  dine 
on  Mcfnday  and  then  departs." 

"A  large  party  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's  on  Sunday  [No 
vember  ist]  ;  a  very  excellent  and  a  very  pleasant  dinner. 
After  dinner  Madame's  physician  comes  in  and  tells  her 
that  a  M.  Vandermont  has  said  of  rne  that  I  arn  an  '  in 
trigant,  un  mauvais  sujet*  and  a  partisan  of  the  Due  d'Orleans. 
He  insists  not  to  be  named  ;  she  tells  me  that  this  man  is 
very  dangerous,  being  a  mauvais  sujet,  and  wishes  me  to  speak 
to  Lafayette.  There  is  but  one  thing  to  be  done,  if  I  stir  at 
all,  and  that  is  to  call  on  him  and  tell  him  that  if  he 
speaks  disrespectfully  of  me  again  I  will  put  him  to 
death  ;  but  in  times  like  the  present  such  conduct  would 
only  give  an  air  of  importance  to  what  must  otherwise 
fall  of  itself,  for  I  am  not  of  sufficient  consequence  to  oc 
cupy  the  public  attention.  This  man,  she  says,  would  not 
scruple  to  bring  me  to  the  lanthorn,  in  other  words,  to 
have  me  hanged.  This  would  be  rather  a  sharp  retribu 
tion  for  the  remark  which  has  excited  his  rage.  On  the 
fifth  of  last  month  he  dined  with  me  at  M.  Lavoisier's,  and 
observed  that  Paris  maintained  the  kingdom  of  France, 
to  which  I  answered,  '  Oui,  Monsieur  comme  moi  je  nourris 
les  elephants  de  Siam.'  This  excited  the  choleric  humors 
of  a  pedant,  and  he  takes  his  revenge  by  saying  things 
which  are,  luckily,  too  improbable  to  be  believed.  On  the 
whole,  I  resolve  to  take  no  notice  of  this  thing,  particu 
larly  as  I  could  not  produce  my  author,  should  M.  Van 
dermont  deny  the  fact,  and  that  would  place  me  in  a  very 
ridiculous  position.  At  five  I  visit  the  Marquis  de  Lafay 
ette.  He  tells  me  that  he  has  followed  my  advice,  though 

212  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

he  did  not  answer  my  letter.  I  congratulate  him  on  what 
passed  two  days  ago  from  a  gentleman  to  the  Comte  de 
Mirabeau,  which  was  so  pointedly  affrontive  as  to  ruin 
him,  because  he  cannot  be  now  placed  in  the  ministry 
and  is  lost  in  the  opinion  of  the  Assembly.  He  asks  with 
eagerness  if  I  think  he  is  lost  with  them.  I  reply  that  the 
Bishop  d'Autun  has  just  expressed  that  opinion  to  me. 
He  says  he  does  not  know  the  Bishop  much,  and  should 
be  glad  to  know  him  more.  I  offer  to  give  them  a  dinner 
together  the  day  after  to-morrow,  or  if  he  does  not  choose 
it,  I  will  say  nothing  about  the  matter.  He  desires  me  to 
say  nothing  of  it,  because  if  he  should  dine  with  me  in 
stead  of  at  home,  it  would  make  an  histoire — which  is  true. 
He  wishes  me,  however,  to  bring  the  Bishop  to  breakfast 
with  him  the  day  after  to-morrow.  I  promise  to  invite 
him.  Go  to  Madame  de  Laborde's.  M.  de  la  Harpe 
reads  us  some  observations  on  La  Rochefoucault,  La 
Bruyere,  and  St.  Evremond.  They  have  merit  but  are 
liable  to  criticism.  After  supper  we  fall  into  politics. 
Monsieur  tells  us  that  the  municipality  of  Rouen  have 
stopped  some  grain  intended  for  Paris.  This  leads  to  ob 
servation  on  the  many-headed  monster  they  have  created 
in  the  executive  department.  He  exculpates  the  Assem 
bly  as  having  been  obliged  to  destroy  in  order  to  correct. 
But  the  necessity  of  such  an  apology  augurs  ill.  Indeed, 
whenever  apology  for  the  conduct  of  government  becomes 
necessary,  they  are  in  the  way  toward  contempt,  for  they 
must  acknowledge  misconduct  before  they  excuse  it,  and 
the  world  is  kind  enough  to  believe  the  acknowledgment 
and  reject  the  excuse." 

"  Monday  morning  [November  2d]  take  Madame  de 
Flahaut  and  Madame  de  Laborde  to  walk  in  the  King's 
Garden  and  then  to  the  Church  of  the  Sorbonne  to  examine 
the  monument  of  the  Cardinal  de  Richelieu.  The  dome 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  213 

of  the  church  is  fine.  Go  later  to  the  Palais  Royal  to 
dine  with  the  Duchesse  d'Orleans.  I  arrive  late  and  have 
kept  dinner  waiting  half  an  hour.  Excuse  myself  as  hav 
ing  waited  news  from  the  Assemblee  Nationale,  which  is 
true,  because  I  stayed  at  the  Louvre  some  time  to  see  the 
Bishop  d'Autun,  who  did  not  come  in.  We  dine  well  and 
pleasantly,  with  as  little  ceremony  as  possible,  at  the  table 
of  a  person  so  high  in  rank.  After  coffee  go  with  Ma 
dame  de  Segur  to  the  apartments  of  Madame  de  Cha- 
stellux.  The  Marechal  reads  us  a  letter  from  M.  Lally- 
Tollendal  to  his  constituents  which  is  not  calculated  to  do 
much  good  to  the  Assemblee  Nationale.  It  will  not  do 
him  any  good  either,  for  the  King,  for  whom  it  is  meant, 
will  want  rather  those  who  can  render  the  Assemble  use 
ful,  than  those  who  absent  themselves  from  it.  The 
Duchess  comes  in  and  gives  us  the  bulletin  of  the  Assem 
blee.  They  have  determined  that  the  church  property 
belongs  to  the  nation,  or,  at  least,  that  the  nation  has  a 
right  to  make  use  of  it.  This  latter  expression  seems  to 
have  been  adopted  as  conciliatory.  From  thence  go  to 
Madame  de  Laborde's.  After  some  time  the  Bishop 
d'Autun  comes  in.  He  is  to  breakfast  with  me  to-morrow, 
and  go  thence  to  M.  de  Lafayette's." 

"  Tuesday  morning  [November  3d]  in  fulfilment  of  his 
promise,  the  Bishop  d'Autun  calls  on  me  and  we  breakfast. 
He  tells  me  that  M.  de  Poix  is  to  visit  M.  de  Lafayette  this 
morning,  in  order  to  make  terms  for  Mirabeau.  We  talk 
a  little  about  M.  de  Lafayette  ;  his  worth  and  what  he  is 
worth.  At  nine  we  go  to  visit  him.  The  cabriolet  of  M.  le 
Prince  de  Poix  is  at  the  porte-cochere,  whence  we  know  he 
is  here.  M.  de  Lafayette  is  closeted  with  him.  A  great 
many  visitors  and  affairs  render  the  minutes  for  our  con 
versation  short.  Lafayette  makes  professions  of  esteem, 
and  desires  to  receive  frequent  visits.  There  is  an  dmeute  in 

214  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

v  the  Faubourg  St.  Antoine  about  bread,  which  leads  to  a 
consideration  of  the  means  to  supply  Paris.  Lafayette  pro 
poses  a  committee,  consisting  of  three  ministers,  three  of 
the  municipality  of  Paris,  and  three  members  of  the  Etats- 
Gene"raux,  and  says  there  is  a  man  who,  acting  under  such 
committee,  can  serve  the  supplies.  The  Bishop  thinks  the 
Assemblee  will  not  meddle.  I  am  sure  they  will  not,  be 
cause  they  act  only  from  fear,  and  will  not  risk  the  conse 
quences  of  being  responsible  for  the  subsistence  of  this 
city.  Lafayette  asks  the  Bishop  what  he  thinks  of  a  new 
ministry.  He  says  that  nobody  but  M.  Necker  can  sustain 
the  famine  and  bankruptcy  which  appear  unavoidable.  La 
fayette  asks  if  he  does  not  think  it  would  be  right  to  prepare 
a  ministry  for  some  months  hence.  The  Bishop  thinks  it 
would.  They  discuss  a  little  character,  and  as  par  hasard 
Lafayette  asks  whether  Mirabeau's  influence  in  the  As 
sembly  is  great,  to  which  the  Bishop  replies  that  it  is  not 
enormous.  We  fall  back  by  degrees  to  the  subsistence, 
and  I  suggest  a  hint  which  Short  has  given  me,  viz.,  to 
give  medals  to  the  poor,  representing  a  pound  of  bread, 
and  then  let  it  rise  to  what  price  it  may,  by  which  means 
the  Government  will  in  effect  pay  for  the  bread  they  eat, 
and  for  that  only,  whereas  they  now  pay  for  a  part  of  what 
everybody  eats.  On  this  the  Bishop  observes  that  the 
ministers,  in  this  moment  when  the  charge  of  plot  is  so 
frequent,  will  be  accused  of  a  conspiracy  against  the  na 
tion  if  they  make  largesses  of  bread  to  the  multitude.  I 
think  he  sees  that  their  plan  would  give  the  administra 
tion  too  much  power  to  be  removed,  and  he  is  right.  His 
idea,  I  think,  is  to  come  in  when  the  magazines  are  full, 
and  then  to  do  what  he  wishes  may  not  now  be  done.  La 
fayette  in  the  course  of  conversation  mentions  his  friend 
La  Rochefoucauld,  saying  at  the  same  time  that  he  has 
not  the  needful  abilities,  but  that  his  integrity  and  reputa- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  21$ 

tion  are  important.  I  think  this  is  the  only  man  he  will 
insist  upon,  and  I  think  any  person  we  please  may  be  ad 
mitted  as  the  price  of  the  duke's  admission.  The  Bishop 
says  he  cannot  think  of  a  new  ministry  unless  the  change 
is  entire.  Lafayette  agrees  to  this,  and  says  that  in  this 
moment  the  friends  of  liberty  ought  to  unite  and  to  un 
derstand,  each  other.  At  coming  away  the  Bishop  ob 
serves  to  me  that  Lafayette  has  no  fixed  plan,  which  is 
true.  With  a  great  deal  of  the  intrigant  in  his  character 
he  must  be  used  by  others  because  he  has  -not  talent 
enough  to  make  use  of  them.  Go  to  M.  Necker's  after 
setting  the  Bishop  down.  M.  Vauviliers  receives  me  in 
the  drawing-room  with  a  compliment  as  being  the  person 
who  is  to  feed  France.  After  dinner  M.  Necker  takes  me 
aside.  He  wishes  to  tie  me  down  to  fixed  periods  for  the 
arrival  of  the  flour  and  for  the  payment.  I  tell  him  I  wish  to 
have  a  house  to  contract  with  me.  He  says  I  run  no  risk, 
and  he  will  have  the  agreement  signed  by  the  King.  My 
carriage  not  being  come,  Madame  de  Stael  insists  upon 
taking  me  where  I  want  to  go.  Later,  when  I  go  to  the 
club,  I  find  that  the  Assembly  have  this  day  suspended  the 
parlements.  This  is  a  better  blow  at  tyranny  than  any 
they  have  yet  struck,  but  it  will  occasion  much  ferment 
among  the  numerous  influential  characters  which  they 
are  composed  of." 

"At  the  club  there  is  the  usual  diversity  of  opin 
ion  on  the  state  of  public  affairs  [November  4th].  Go 
from  here  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  The  Duchess  re 
proaches  me  for  going  away  early  last  evening  and  com 
ing  late  now.  Has  been  here  near  two  hours,  and  her  son, 
M.  de  Beaujolais,  is  brought  on  purpose  to  see  me.  He 
presents  himself  with  a  very  good  grace.  Is  enjouJ  et  em- 
presstf.  I  kiss  him  several  times,  which  he  returns  with 
eagerness.  He  will  make  a  pleasant  fellow  some  ten 

2l6  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

or  twelve  years  hence,  for  the  petites -mattresses  of  that  day. 
Puisignieu  is  here,  and  after  some  time  Madame  de  Segur 
comes  in.  The  Marechal  is  afflicted  with  gout.  Madame 
de  Chastellux  is  to  take  a  bouillon  to-morrow  with  her 
fair  friend.  Thence  I  am  led  to  believe  in  the  possibility 
of  a  marriage  between  her  and  the  old  gentleman,  which 
other  circumstances  give  much  room  to  imagine.  Go 
thence  to  Madame  de  Stael  in  consequence  of  her  invita 
tion  yesterday.  A  great  deal  of  bel  esprit.  The  Bishop 
d'Autun  declined  coming  this  morning,  when  I  asked  him 
at  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  I  am  not  sufficiently  brilliant 
for  this  consultation.  The  few  observations  I  make  have 
more  of  justice  than  splendor,  and  therefore  cannot  amuse. 
No  matter,  they  will  perhaps  remain  when  the  others  are 
effaced.  I  think  there  is  a  road  to  success  here,  in  the 
upper  region  of  wits  and  graces,  which  I  am  half  tempted 
to  try.  It  is  the  sententious  style.  To  arrive  at  perfec 
tion  in  it  one  must  be  very  attentive,  and  either  wait  till 
one's  opinion  be  asked,  or  else  communicate  it  in  a  whis 
per.  It  must  be  clear,  pointed,  and  perspicuous,  and  then 
it  will  be  remembered,  repeated,  and  respected.  This, 
however,  is  playing  a  part  not  natural  to  me.  I  am  not 
sufficiently  an  economist  of  my  ideas.  I  think  that  in  my 
life  I  never  saw  such  exuberant  vanity  as  that  of  Madame 
de  Stael  upon  the  subject  of  her  father.  Speaking  of  the 
opinion  of  the  Bishop  d'Autun  upon  the  subject  of  the 
church  property,  which  has  lately  been  printed,  not  hav 
ing  had  an  opportunity  to  deliver  it  in  the  Assembly, 
she  says  it  is  excellent,  it  is  admirable,  in  short  there  are 
two  pages  in  it  which  are  worthy  of  M.  Necker.  After 
wards  she  says  that  wisdom  is  a  very  rare  quality,  and  she 
knows  of  no  one  who  possesses  it  in  a  superlative  degree 
except  her  father." 

''This  morning  [November  5th]  the  Comte  de  Luxem- 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  2 1/ 

bourg  and  La  Caze  come  to  breakfast  for  the  purpose  of 
knowing  my  sentiments  on  public  affairs.  At  dinner  I 
hear  the  news  from  Brabant,  viz  ,  that  the  imperial  troops 
had  been  much  worsted,  and  that  the  people  have  declared 
independence.  This  latter  part  is  certain,  for  I  read  the 
declaration,  or  rather  part  of  it." 

"  Spend  the  morning  [November  6th]  with  Le  Coulteux 
adjusting  the  form  of  a  contract  for  flour  with  M.  Necker, 
which  is  to  be  copied  and  sent  with  a  note  from  me.  Re 
turn  home  after  three  to  dress,  then  go  to  M.  de  Montmo- 
rin's.  Luckily  the  dinner  has  been  kept  back  on  account 
of  some  members  of  the  Etats-Generaux  or  Assemblee. 
After  dinner  he  asks  me  why  I  do  not  come  oftener.  He 
wishes  much  to  converse  with  me.  He  is  engaged  to  dine 
abroad  next  Tuesday,  but  any  other  day,  etc.  Chat  with 
Madame  de  Beaumont,  his  daughter,  who  is  a  sprightly, 
sensible  woman,  and  at  six  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  to 
the  opera,  where  I  am  so  weak  as  to  shed  tears  at  a  panto 
mime  representation  of  the  '  Deserters.'  So  true  it  is 
that  action  is  the  great  art  of  oratory.  Go  from  the  opera 
to  Madame  de  Chastellux's  ;  the  Comtesse  de  Segur  has 
been  there  with  her  children  ;  all  disappointed  at  not  see 
ing  me  ;  this  is  civil,  but  I  am  sorry  not  to  have  met  them. 
The  Duchess  has  left  her  reproof  ;  all  that  is  well  enough. 
Madame  tells  me  that  the  Prussian  General  Schlefer,  who 
commanded  the  army  of  10,000  men  sent  to  quiet  the 
troubles  of  Liege,  after  a  few  executions  which  restored 
order,  harangued  his  troops,  thanked  them  for  their 
zeal,  and  then,  by  reason  of  the  disordered  state  of  his  master's 
finances,  disbanded  them  ;  but  in  consideration  of  their 
former  services,  left  them  their  arms,  baggage,  etc.,  and  gave 
them  a  month's  pay  to  maintain  them  on  their  journey  home. 
In  the  astonishment  naturally  resulting  from  such  an 
event  the  patriots  of  Brabant  offered  them  very  advanta- 

2l8  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

geous  terms,  and  of  course  the  whole  army  passed  into 
their  service.  General  Dalton,  apprised  of  this  manoeuvre, 
immediately  applied  to  Count  d'Esterhazy,  command 
ing  at  Valenciennes,  to  know  if  he  would  receive  the  Aus 
trian  troops.  This  last  despatched  an  express  to  M.  de  la 
Tour  du  Pin,  the  Minister  of  War  here.  A  council  was 
held  and  the  answer  returned  this  morning.  Go  to  Ma 
dame  de  Laborde's.  In  the  course  of  the  evening  mention 
this  as  a  rumor,  the  authenticity  of  which  I  will  not  war 
rant.  M.  Bonnet  tell  us  that  such  a  report  being  spread, 
though  differing  materially  in  circumstances,  inasmuch  as 
it  related  only  to  a  request  to  be  admitted  unarmed  in  case 
events  should  render  a  retreat  necessary,  he  had  inquired 
of  one  of  the  ministers  and  had  been  told  that  they  had 
luckily  found  an  excuse  for  not  complying  with  Dalton's 
request,  in  the  want  of  subsistence,  already  so  great.  This 
is  weak  indeed  ;  they  should  have  received  those  troops, 
near  10,000  men,  and  marched  them  slowly  toward  Stras 
bourg,  there  to  wait  the  Emperor's  orders.  The  battalions 
he  has  already  marched  to  their  assistance,  joined  to  these 
and  to  the  foreign  regiments  in  the  service  of  France,  would 
form  an  army  sufficient  to  restore  order  to  this  kingdom,  and 
discipline  to  their  troops,  etc.  The  idea  of  those  who  differ 
with  me  is,  that  the  Parisians  would  immediately  assassinate 
the  King  and  Queen  ;  but  I  am  far  from  believing  in  such 
an  attempt,  and  I  am  persuaded  that  a  respectable  body 
of  troops  in  a  position  to  avenge  that  crime  would  be  a 
cogent  motive  to  prevent  it.  These,  however,  are  the  con 
jectures  of  a  private  man.  Unhappy  France,  to  be  torn  by 
discord  in  the  moment  when  wise  and  temperate  councils 
would  have  led  thee  to  the  pinnacle  of  human  greatness  ! 
There  has  happened  this  day  a  very  strange  incident  ;  a 
person  who  says  he  belongs  to  the  family  of  Montmorenci 
(i.e.)  a  servant  of  one  of  them,  is  arrested  for  giving  money 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  2 19 

to  a  baker  not  to  bake.  Either  some  of  these  persons  are 
mad,  or  else  their  enemies  have  a  wickedness  of  invention 
worthy  of  the  prime  mover  of  evil.  At  going  away  this 
evening  the  Comte  de  Luxembourg  takes  me  aside  and 
asks  if  I  have  thought  of  a  person  for  Prime  Minister  of 
this  country.  I  repeat  what  I  told  him  on  Thursday,  that 
I  am  not  sufficiently  acquainted  with  men  and  things  here 
to  hazard  opinions  ;  that  France  has  my  best  wishes  for 
her  prosperity  and  sincere  regret  for  her  situation.  He  is 
to  breakfast  with  me  on  Monday.  This  evening,  not  being 
able  to  obtain  cream  for  her  tea,  one  of  the  company  pro 
posed  to  Madame  de  Laborde  to  try  a  species  of  cheese. 
This  odd  proposition  was  adopted,  and  to  my  amazement 
it  proved  to  be  the  best  cream  which  I  have  tasted  in 
Paris.  I  get  home  late,  and  find  a  letter  from  Cantaleu, 
desiring  my  aid  to  combat  a  proposition  made  in  the  As 
sembly  this  morning  by  Mirabeau.  It  is  to  send  an  em 
bassy  extraordinary  to  America,  to  desire  payment  of  the 
debt  to  France,  in  corn  and  flour." 

"  This  morning  [November  yth]  Cantaleu  breakfasts 
with  me,  and  we  prepare  his  argument  against  Mirabeau's 
proposition.  I  hear  that  M.  Necker  is  making  inquiries 
as  to  the  price  at  which  flour  can  be  delivered  here.  I  tell 
my  informer,  who  wishes  to  know  my  sentiments,  that  if 
M.  Necker  has  set  on  foot  such  an  inquiry  it  is  with  a 
view  to  chaffering  in  a  bargain  he  is  about  to  make  ;  that 
I  have  told  him  the  price  which  the  flour  will  cost.  Call 
at  half-past  three  on  Madame  de  Flahaut.  The  Bishop 
comes  immediately  after.  The  event  of  Mirabeau's  prop 
ositions,  levelled  at  the  ministry,  has  been  a  resolu 
tion  that  no  member  of  the  present  States-General  shall 
be  admitted  to  share  in  the  administration.  Some  meas 
ures  have  been  taken  to  guard  the  church  property,  at  the 
instigation  of  the  Bishop.  The  news  which  Madame  de 


Chastellux  communicated  last  evening  are,  I  believe,  en 
tirely  false,  and  yet  they  were  told  to  her  by  a  confidential 
person.  To  be  sparing  of  one's  faith  is  in  this  country 
to  economize  one's  reputation." 

"Engaged  all  the  morning  [November  8th]  writing.  At 
three  I  dine  with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  We  have  an  excel 
lent  dinner,  and,  as  usual,  a  conversation  extremely  gay. 
After  dinner,  the  company  go  to  cards,  and  I  who  have  im 
posed  upon  myself  the  law  not  to  play,  read  a  motion  of 
the  Comte  de  Mirabeau,  in  which  he  shows  very  truly  the 
dreadful  situation  of  credit  in  this  country,  but  he  is  not 
so  successful  in  applying  a  remedy  as  in  disclosing  the 
disease.  This  man  will  always  be  powerful  in  opposition, 
but  never  great  in  administration.  His  understanding  is, 
I  believe,  impaired  by  the  perversion  of  his  heart.  There 
is  a  fact  which  very  few  seem  to  be  apprised  of,  viz., 
that  a  sound  mind  cannot  exist  where  the  morals  are  un 
sound.  Sinister  designs  render  the  view  of  things  oblique. 
From  the  Louvre  go  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  The 
Comte  de  Segur  and  his  amiable  daughter-in-law  are 
there.  Make  a  declaration  of  love  to  her  in  jest,  which  I 
might  have  done  in  earnest ;  but  as  she  expects  every 
hour  a  husband  whom  she  loves,  neither  the  jest  nor  ear 
nest  would  be  of  consequence." 

Formality  seems  to  have  taken  no  part  in  the  arrange 
ment  of  dinner  guests,  for  Morris  says,  "  I  go  to-day 
[November  Qth]  to  dine  at  M.  Necker's,  and  place  myself 
next  to  Madame  de  Stael,  and  as  our  conversation  grows 
animated,  she  desires  me  to  speak  English,  which  her  hus 
band  does  not  understand.  Afterwards  in  looking  round 
the  table,  I  observe  in  him  much  emotion.  I  tell  her  that 
he  loves  her  distractedly,  which  she  says  she  knows,  and 
that  it  renders  her  miserable.  Condole  with  her  a  little 
on  her  widowhood,  the  Chevalier  de  Narbonne  being  ab- 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  221 

sent  in  Franche-Comte.  Much  conversation  about  the 
Bishop  d'Autun.  I  desire  her  to  let  me  know  if  he  suc 
ceeds,  because  I  will,  in  such  case,  make  advantage  of  such 
intelligence  in  making  my  court  to  Madame  de  Flahaut. 
A  proposition  more  whimsical  could  hardly  be  made  to  a 
woman,  but  the  manner  is  everything,  and  so  it  passes. 
She  tells  me  she  rather  invites  than  repels  those  who  in 
cline  to  be  attentive,  and  some  time  after  says  that  perhaps 
I  may  become  an  admirer.  I  tell  her  that  it  is  not  impos 
sible  ;  but,  as  a  previous  condition,  she  must  agree  not  to 
repel  me,  which  she  promises.  After  dinner  I  seek  a  con 
versation  with  the  husband,  which  relieves  him.  He  in 
veighs  bitterly  against  the  manners  of  this  country,  and 
the  cruelty  of  alienating  a  wife's  affections.  He  says  that 
women  here  are  more  corrupt  in  their  minds  and  hearts 
than  in  any  other  way.  I  regret  with  him,  on  general 
grounds,  that  prostration  of  morals  which  unfits  them  for 
good  government.  Hence,  he  concludes,  and  I  believe 
truly,  that  I  shall  not  contribute  towards  making  him  un 

"  When  M.  Necker  has  got  rid  of  those  who  environ 
him  he  takes  me  into  his  cabinet,  observes  that  I  have 
stipulated  to  receive  such  premium  as  the  court  may  give 
for  other  flour  on  importation  of  the  first  20,000  barrels. 
I  tell  him  that  he  must  feel  with  me  the  propriety  of  that 
stipulation,  but  that  I  presume  he  will  not  give  any  pre 
mium.  He  says  that  he  disapproves  of  it,  but  that  so 
many  urge  the  measure  he  shall  he  obliged  perhaps  to 
submit,  for  in  the  present  times  they  are  frequently  under 
the  necessity  of  doing  what  they  know  to  be  wrong.  He 
leaves  that  stipulation,  but  he  says  I  ought  to  be  bound 
in  a  penalty  to  deliver  the  20,000.  I  tell  him  that  I  cer 
tainly  mean  to  comply  with  my  contract,  but  that  he  also 
ought  to  be  bound  to  a  penalty.  He  proposes  ^2,000, 

222  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

assuring  me  that  it  is  only  to  comply  with  needful  forms. 
I  tell  him  I  have  no  objection  to  a  greater  sum,  except 
that  I  cannot  command  the  elements,  and,  of  course,  do 
not  know  how  long  it  will  be  before  my  letters  reach 
America.  He  says  that  they  will  not  exact  the  penalty 
on  account  of  the  delay  of  a  month  or  two,  upon  which  we 
agree.  He  pauses  in  amending  the  agreement,  at  the 
binding  of  the  King  to  a  like  penalty.  I  cut  the  matter 
short  by  telling  him  that  I  rely  on  His  Majesty's  honor 
and  the  integrity  of  his  ministers.  I  tell  him  that  I  ex 
pect  he  will  not  extend  his  orders  in  America,  and  he  says 
he  will  not,  but  rely  on  me,  for  which  purpose  it  is  that  he 
wishes  the  bargain  to  be  such  that  he  may  have  full  confi 
dence  in  it.  Having  signed  the  agreement,  which  he  is  to 
send  to  me  to-morrow  countersigned  by  the  King,  I  go 
later  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's,  make  tea  for  the  Duch 
ess  and  introduce  the  eating  of  a  rye  bread  toast,  which  is 
found  to  be  excellent.  The  Vicomte  de  Segur  comes  in 
and  tells  us  that  the  Baron  de  Besenval  has  discovered 
that  England  gives  two  millions  sterling  to  make  mischief 
in  this  country.  I  dispute  the  matter,  which  is,  I  am  sure, 
impossible.  He  insists  with  great  warmth  that  it  is  true, 
and  thence  concludes  that  the  tales  circulated  to  the  prej 
udice  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  are  false.  There  is  a  great 
deal  of  absurdity  in  all  this,  and  if  he  makes  such  a  de 
fence  for  the  Duke  everywhere,  he  will  convict  him. 
Madame  de  Segur  takes  me  aside  at  going  out,  to  remark 
on  this,  and  adds  her  persuasion  that  the  Duke  was  the 
distributor  of  the  money  given  for  these  wicked  purposes. 
The  Comte  de  Luxembourg  asked  me,  in  the  course  of  the 
evening,  what  should  be  done  to  ameliorate  the  deplorable 
situation  of  France.  I  tell  him,  nothing  ;  that  time  can 
alone  indicate  the  proper  measures  and  the  proper  moment; 
that  those  who  would  accelerate  events  may  get  themselves 

1789]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  223 

hanged,  but  cannot  alter  the  course  of  things ;  that  if  the  As 
sembly  become  generally  contemptible,  a  new  order  must 
naturally  arise  from  that  circumstance  ;  but  if  they  preserve 
public  confidence,  they  only  can  restore  this  country  to 
health  and  tranquillity,  and  of  consequence  no  private  in 
dividuals  can  in  the  present  moment  do  good.  He  says 
he  is  afraid  some  persons  will  be  precipitate,  and  show  an 
armed  opposition.  I  tell  him  that  if  any  be  so  mad,  they 
must  take  the  consequence  of  their  rashness,  which  will  be 
fatal  to  themselves  and  to  their  cause,  for  that  successful  op 
position  always  confirms  authority.  This  young  man  de 
sires  to  meddle  with  the  state  affairs,  but  he  has  not  yet  read 
the  book  of  man,  and  though  a  good  mathematician  I  am 
told,  may  yet  be  a  very  wretched  politician.  M.  le  Nor- 
mand,  whom  I  see  to-day,  considers  a  public  bankruptcy 
here  as  inevitable,  and  views  a  civil  war  as  the  necessary 

"  I  hear  from  Mr.  Richard  [November  loth]  that  the 
Duke  of  Orleans  offered  Beaumarchais  20  per  cent,  for  a 
loan  of  500,000  francs,  and  that  he  had  since  applied  to  their 
house  for  a  loan  of  300,000  francs,  but  in  both  cases  without 
success  ;  that  their  house  is  so  pushed  for  money,  they  know 
not  how  to  turn  themselves.  Go  to  dinner  at  Madame  La 
Tour's ;  arrive  very  late,  but,  luckily,  the  Comte  d'Afry 
and  the  Bishop  d'Autun  arrive  still  later.  We  have  a  bad 
dinner  and  more  company  than  can  sit  at  the  table.  Ev 
erything  is  ennuyeux  ;  perhaps  it  arises  in  a  great  measure 
from  myself.  Go  with  the  Comte  d'Afry  to  the  repre 
sentation  of  'Charles  Neuf,'  a  tragedy  founded  on  the 
massacre  of  St.  Bartholomew.  It  is  a  very  extraordinary 
piece  to  be  represented  in  a  Catholic  country.  A  cardi 
nal,  who  excites  the  king  to  violate  his  oaths  and  murder 
his  subjects,  then  in  a  meeting  of  assassins  consecrates 
their  daggers,  absolves  them  from  their  crimes,  and  prom- 

224  DIARY   AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

ises  everlasting  felicity,  all  this  with  the  solemnities  of 
the  established  religion.  A  murmur  of  horror  runs 
through  the  audience.  There  are  several  observations 
calculated  for  the  present  times,  and,  I  think,  this  piece, 
if  it  runs  through  the  provinces,  as  it  probably  will,  must 
give  a  fatal  blow  to  the  Catholic  religion.  My  friend  the 
Bishop  d'Autun  has  gone  a  great  way  towards  its  destruc 
tion  by  attacking  the  church  property.  Surely  there 
never  was  a  nation  which  verged  faster  towards  anarchy. 
No  law,  no  morals,  no  principles,  no  religion.  After  the 
principal  piece  I  go  to  Madame  de  Laborde's.  I  am  re 
quested  to  attend  Madame  d'Angivilier,  and,  as  the  devil 
will  have  it,  they  enter  on  politics  at  eleven  and  stay  till 
one,  disputing  whether  the  abuses  of  former  times  are 
more  grievous  than  the  excesses  which  are  to  come." 

"  This  morning  early  [November  nth]  the  Comte  de 
Luxembourg  comes  in  and  stays  all  the  morning.  He 
presses  me  hard  to  promise  that  I  will  take  a  part  in  the 
administration  of  their  affairs.  This  is  a  mighty  strange 
proposition,  particularly  from  a  man  who  has,  I  think,  no 
sort  of  interest,  though  indisputably  of  the  first  family  in 
this  country.  He  drops  the  idea  of  a  combination  which 
exists,  and  whose  intention  is  to  restore  affairs  to  a  better 
situation,  and  that  he  is  in  their  confidence.  But  two 
questions  naturally  arise  upon  this  subject :  What  they 
mean  by  a.  better  situation  ?  and  whether  they  be  not  persons 
who  think  they  can  govern  because  they  wish  to  govern  ? 
It  is  possible  that  this  young  man  may  be  connected  with 
people  of  greater  maturity  on  some  political  intrigue,  and 
may  be  authorized  to  talk  to  me,  though  I  doubt  both  the 
one  and  the  other,  particularly  the  latter.  I  make,  how 
ever,  the  same  answer,  which  I  should  do  to  a  more  regu 
lar  application,  that  I  am  wearied  with  public  affairs  ;  the 
prime  of  my  life  has  been  spent  in  public  occupations ; 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  22$ 

my  only  present  wish  is  to  pass  the  remainder  in  peace 
ful  retirement  among  my  friends.  I  add,  however,  for  his 
own  government,  that,  in  my  opinion,  no  change  can  be 
operated  at  present  which  will  be  either  useful  or  safe. 

"  After  he  leaves  me  I  go  to  Madame  de  Stael's.  The 
Bishop  d'Autun  is  here,  and  I  fix  with  him  to  dine  at  Ma 
dame  de  Flahaut's  with  the  Marquis  de  Montesquieu  next 
Friday,  for  the  purpose  of  discussing  M.  Necker's  plan 
of  finance,  which  is  then  to  be  proposed.*  A  great  deal  of 
light  chit-chat  here,  which  amounts  to  nothing.  Madame 
Dubourg  is  so  kind  as  to  stimulate  me  a  little  into  con 
versation  with  her,  and  whispers  that  '  Madame  FAmbas* 
sadrice  fait  les  doux  yeux  a  M.  1'Eveque,'  which  I  had  al 
ready  observed,  and  also  that  he  was  afraid  I  should  see 
too  much." 

"I  dine  to-day  [November  i2th]  with  M.  de  Mont- 
morin.  After  dinner  converse  with  him  on  the  situation 
of  affairs.  He  tells  me  that  their  administration  has  no 
head,  that  M.  Necker  is  too  virtuous  to  be  at  the  head,  and 
has  too  much  vanity  ;  that  he  himself  has  not  sufficient 
talents,  and  if  he  had  he  could  not  undergo  the  fatigue  ; 

*  Necker's  plan  of  finance,  which  Morris  frequently  mentions,  was  an 
effort  to  induce  the  National  Assembly  to  consent  to  the  conversion  of  the 
Caisse  d'Escompte  into  a  national  bank  j.  the  commissioners  to  be  chosen 
by  the  National  Assembly  ;  the  notes  put  successively  ins  circulation  to  be 
fixed  at  two  hundred  and  forty  millions  ;  the  nation,  by  a  special  decree  of 
the  National  Assembly,  sanctioned  by  his  Majesty,  to  guarantee  the  notes, 
which  were  to  be  stamped  with  the  arms  of  France-  and  the  legend  ' '  Garantie 
Nationale."  He  also  proposed  that  the  capital  of  the  Caisse  d'Escompte,  which 
represented  then  thirty  millions  in  circulation  and  seventy  deposited,  should 
be  augmented  to  fifty  millions  by  a  creation  of  twelve  thousand  five  hundred 
shares  payable  in  silver.  Loustalot  opposed  Necker's  scheme  on  the  ground, 
that  it  would  simply  associate  the  nation  in  the  bankruptcy  of  the  Caisse 
d'Escompte,  for  if  the  Caisse  d'Escompte  had  the  credit,  it  had  no  use  for  a 
national  guarantee,  and  if  the  nation  had  the  credit,  it  was  not  necessary 
for  the  Caisse  d'Escompte  to  establish  a  Caisse  Nationale.  Bouchez  and 
Roux  mention  that  Necker's  project  made  but  little  sensation,  as  several  of 
the  journals  did  not  even  notice  it. 


226  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  X. 

that  as  to  great  measures  the  King  is  incapable  of  them ; 
and  therefore  he  has  no  other  method  of  acquiring  power 
but  to  gain  the  love  of  his  subjects,  to  which  he  is  entitled 
by  his  goodness  of  heart.  Madame  de  Flahaut  tells  me, 
when  I  call  on  her  this  evening,  that  she  wishes  to  have 
her  husband  appointed  minister  in  America.  Has  spoken 
to  Montesquieu  on  the  subject,  who  has  applied  to  Mont- 
morin,  but  was  told  that  the  place  was  given  ten  months 
ago.  I  had  already  told  her  that  it  could  not  be,  at  least, 
for  the  present." 

"  To-day  [November  i3thj  I  am  invited  to  meet  the 
Bishop  d'Autun  and  the  Duke  de  Biron  at  Madame  de 
Flahaut's,  but  first  to  take  Madame  de  Laborde  and  my 
fair  hostess  to  visit  Notre  Dame.  The  Bishop  d'Autun 
and  the  Duke  consider  M.  Necker  absolutely  ruined. 
The  Duke  tells  me  that  Necker's  plan  was  disapproved  of 
yesterday  in  the  Council,  or  rather,  last  evening.  Montes- 
quiou  comes  in  and  I  go  away,  as  there  is  a  little  affair  to 
settle  between  him  and  the  Bishop.  Visit  Madame  de 
Corney.  Leave  her  surrounded  by  two  or  three  persons, 
one  of  whom  is  engaged  in  the  discussion  of  the proces  of 
M.  de  Lambesc,  accused  of  the  crime  of  lese  nation  for 
wounding  a  man  in  the  Tuileries  on  the  Sunday  preced 
ing  the  capture  of  the  Bastille.  Return  to  the  Louvre. 
Madame  informs  me  that  the  affair  is  settled  between  the 
Bishop  and  the  Marquis.  Indeed,  it  could  not  be  other 
wise,  for  it  was  a  falsehood  related  of  the  former  to  the 
latter,  and,  of  course,  a  denial  put  things  to  rights.  Ma 
dame  being  ill  goes  into  the  bath,  and  when  placed  there 
sends  for  me.  It  is  a  strange  place  to  receive  a  visit,  but 
there  is  milk  mixed  with  the  water,  making  it  opaque. 
She  tells  me  that  it  is  usual  to  receive  in  the  bath,  and  I 
suppose  it  is,  for  otherwise  I  should  have  been  the  last 
person  to  whom  it  would  have  been  permitted." 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  22? 


Exodus  from  the  ranks  of  society.  Many  closed  salons.  Changed  state 
of  feeling.  Necker's  "plan"  for  the  Caisse  d'Escompte.  The  Pope 
quarrels  with  the  farmers-general.  Opposition  to  Necker.  Mirabeau 
describes  the  Assembly.  Lafayette's  ambition.  A  tedious  session. 
Interview  with  Necker.  Tea  at  Madame  de  Laborde's.  Plan  for 
dealing  with  the  American  debt  to  France.  Necker  converses  on  the 
constitution  then  preparing.  The  Bishop  d'Autun  asks  advice  as  to 
speaking  in  the  Assembly.  A  rumor  that  he  is  to  be  appointed  Ameri 
can  Minister  to  the  Court  of  Louis  XVI.  An  evening  in  Madame  de 
StaeTs  salon.  Tact  of  the  hostess.  Clermont-Tonnerre  reads  a  dis 
course.  Necker  speculates  as  to  the  issue  of  one  hundred  and  thirty 
millions  of  paper  money.  The  Abbe  Delille  reads  his  own  verses 
in  Madame  de  Chastellux's  drawing-room. 

BY  November  society  began  to  feel  the  exodus  from  its 
ranks.  The  most  brilliant  salons  of  a  few  months 
back  were  closed  and  silent,  and  their  gay  inmates  lan 
guishing  in  foreign  lands.  In  the  few  that  remained 
open  the  society  forgot  that  persiflage  and  coquetry  which 
had  been  its  life.  The  hostess  forgot  her  tranquil  mode 
of  dispensing  hospitality  while  listening  to  the  heated  de 
bate  ;  and,  presiding  over  her  tea-table,  was  not  unlikely, 
in  the  excitement  of  political  discussion,  ungracefully  to 
spill  the  scalding  liquid  over  her  hands.  Men  forgot  to 
make  k>ve  to  their  hostesses  in  their  eagerness  to  read  to 
them  the  latest  news  in  the  Gazette,  and  strangest  of  all, 
the  women  forgot  to  notice  the  cessation  of  compliments 
and  love-making  in  their  zeal  to  discuss  a  motion  to  be 
made  by  a  deputy,  or  the  latest  brochure  of  a  friend. 
The  salon  of  Madame  de  Beauharnais  still  flourished,  and 


she,  with  her  pretty,  very  feminine  and  enjuponnJ talent,  en 
tirely  inoffensive  to  the  amour  propre  of  the  sterner  sex, 
continued  to  draw  about  her  a  coterie  who  bemoaned  the 
insensibility  of  the  world  to  their  literary  efforts.  Here 
la  liberte  et  re'galitt,  those  dames  d'atours  of  madame,  her 
counsellors  les  plus  intimes,  presided.  Madame  had  herself 
once  made  two  or  three  jolts  mots,  and  contented  herself 
by  repeating  them  at  intervals.  Madame  also  knew  how 
to  listen,  or  appear  to  listen  when  she  never  listened  at  all, 
and  here  literature  was  the  god  to  which  they  dedicated 
themselves ;  here  Voltaire  was  crowned.  Society  must 
find  relief  from  constant  political  conversation,  and  the 
gaming-table  offered  the  best  advantages.  It  became  the 
resort  of  the  deputy,  worn  out  trying  to  hear  or  make  him 
self  heard  in  a  disorderly  seance,  and  of  the  noblesse  who 
played  for  money  for  daily  expenses  ;  and  so  it  was  that 
the  gaming-table,  offering  so  much  to  so  many,  continued 
through  all  the  shiftings  and  changes  of  events  and  people 
in  Paris,  and  flourished  until  the  days  of  the  Terror. 

There  was  now  a  general  unrest,  a  murmuring  and  spas 
modic  movement  in  the  streets  of  Paris  —  one  day  like 
those  of  a  dead  city ;  the  next  awake  with  a  feverish  ex 
citement,  and  orators  holding  forth  everywhere.  The 
National  Assembly  fought  over  the  constitution,  Necker 
struggled  with  the  finances  and  subsistence,  and  Camille 
Desmoulins  wrote  about  and  gloated  over  the  disclosures 
of  the  Red  Book,  with  its  list  of  fraudulent  pensions  and 
its  appalling  sum-total. 

It  was  Saturday,  November  i4th,  that  M. Necker  brought 
forward  his  plans  for  the  Caisse  d'Escompte,  which  was 
to  convert  it  into  a  national  bank.  "  M.  d'Aguesseau 
tells  me,"  Morris  says,  "that  Necker  proposed  his  plan 
with  much  modesty  and  diffidence.  No  opinion  can  be 
formed  of  the  reception  it  will  meet  with.  The  Chevalier 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  229 

de  Boufflers  and  the  Comte  de  Thiard,  whom  I  meet  at 
dinner  at  the  Duchess  of  Orleans's,  are  neither  of  them 
pleased  with  what  is  going  forward  in  the  Assembly. 
They  are  to  sit  three  times  a  week  in  the  afternoons.  Go 
to  the  Louvre  ;  Madame  is  in  bed  enrhumte.  We  have 
several  visitors,  Madame  Capellis  among  others,  who  tells 
me  that  the  Pope's  nuncio  is  to  be  of  our  party  next 
Monday  evening,  and  gives  me  to  understand  that  he 
wishes  to  be  acquainted  with  me.  I  do  not  suppose  that 
this  arises  from  any  great  devotion  on  my  part  to  the  Holy 
Roman  Apostolic  See.  While  I  am  visiting  I  am  troubled 
with  spasmodic  affections  of  the  nervous  system  which  give 
great  pain  at  times  in  the  stump  of  my  amputated  leg,  and, 
in  the  other  leg,  an  anxious  sensation  which  I  conceive  to 
arise  from  some  derangement  of  the  nervous  system,  and 
therefore  I  must  expose  myself  more  to  the  air  and  take 
exercise.  The  wind  has  blown  all  night  very  hard  and  con 
tinues  high  this  morning.  I  think  it  is  from  the  southwest, 
and  I  fear  that  many  have  fallen  victims  to  its  rage.  Gen 
eral  Dalrymple,  whom  I  visit  after  dinner,  tells  me  that 
the  gale  of  wind  which  we  have  had  within  these  few  days 
has  committed  dreadful  ravages  on  the  British  coast,  and 
that  his  letters  announce  the  destruction  of  eight  hundred 
men.  He  considers  M.  Necker's  plan  as  flat  nonsense, 
and  tells  me  that  the  bankers  he  conversed  with  are  of 
opinion  that  it  is  good  for  nothing.  I  have  read  the  m£- 
moire,  and  I  think  this  plan  cannot  succeed." 

"  On  Monday  at  half-past  nine  call  on  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut  to  take  her  to  supper  with  Madame  Capellis.  She 
is  in  bed  and  very  much  indisposed.  Stay  but  a  few 
minutes  and  then  go  to  supper.  The  nuncio  of  His  Holi 
ness  is  not  here.  It  is  the  day  on  which  his  courier  de 
parts.  Capellis  tells  me  he  wishes  to  bring  us  together, 
because  the  Pope  has  quarrelled  with  the  farmers-general 


about  the  supplies  of  tobacco  formerly  taken  from  them  ; 
that  he  draws  them  now  from  Germany,  and  he  thinks  an 
agreement  might  be  made  to  furnish  his  Holiness  from 
America.  I  doubt  much  the  success  of  the  scheme,  for 
the  Pope  can  only  contract  from  year  to  year,  and  the  dis 
tance  is  such  that  half  the  year  would  be  consumed  before 
a  leaf  of  tobacco  could  arrive.  The  company  here  are 
much  disgusted  with  the  actings  and  doings  of  the  Assem- 
blee  Nationale." 

"To-day  [November  iyth]  I  hear  the  latest  American 
news,  which  were  conveyed  by  the  British  September  pack 
et.  Mr.  Jefferson  has  been  made  Secretary  of  Foreign  Af 
fairs.  After  some  visitors  leave,  I  go  to  the  Chatelet  to  visit 
the  Baron  de  Besenval.  The  old  gentleman  is  much  pleased 
with  this  attention.  We  talk  politics  a  little  and  he  takes 
an  opportunity  to  whisper  that  we  shall  soon  have  a 
counter-revolution,  which  I  have  long  considered  as  in 
evitable,  though  I  am  not  sufficiently  master  of  facts  to 
judge  from  whence  it  is  to  arise.  Go  to  club.  The  Par- 
lement  of  Metz  have,  it  seems,  acted  with  more  pointed 
opposition  than  the  Parlement  of  Rouen,  and  the  Assem- 
blee  will  fulminate  its  decrees  in  consequence.  The 
Church,  the  Law,  and  the  Nobility,  three  bodies  inter 
mediary,  which  in  this  kingdom  were  equally  formidable 
to  the  King  and  people,  are  now  placed  by  the  Assemblee 
in  direct  hostility,  and  they  have  at  the  same  moment,  by 
the  influence  of  ill-grounded  apprehension,  tied  the  hands 
and  feet  of  their  natural  ally,  the  King.  A  very  little  time 
must  unite  the  opposition,  and  when  united  they  will  of 
course  place  themselves  under  the  banners  of  the  royal 
authority,  and  then,  farewell  Democracy.  Go  from  the 
club  to  M.  de  Montmorin's.  Nothing  here  worthy  of  at 
tention.  M.  d'Aguesseau  and  M.  Bonnet  dine  with  us  ; 
the  latter  wants  some  information  about  their  affairs  in 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  231 

India.  I  tell  him  that  the  way  to  check  Britain  in  India 
is  to  make  the  Isle  of  France  un  port-d  armes,  and  a  free 
port,  etc.  M.  de  Montmorin  tells  us  that  he  proposed 
this  very  plan  in  1783.  M.  Bonnet  asks  me  if  free  ports 
in  France  are  necessary  for  us.  I  tell  him  that  I  be 
lieve  not,  but  on  this  subject  he  must  consult  Mr.  Short, 
who  is  our  representative.  He  desires  an  interview,  but 
M.  de  Montmorin  tells  him  that  Mr.  Short  can  have  no 
precise  information  on  the  subject.  In  effect,  when  this 
matter  was  first  agitated,  Jefferson  consulted  me,  but  I 
chose  to  preserve  the  respect  due  to  the  representative  of 
America.  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux.  She  gives  me 
an  account  of  the  interior  of  her  family.  The  Duchess 
comes  in,  and  the  Marechal  de  Segur.  He  tells  me  that 
Brittany  has  undergone  a  sudden  change  ;  the  Noblesse 
and  people  are  united,  and  they  will  reject  the  acts  of  the 
Assemblee.  M.  de  Thiard  had  told  us  that  something  of 
this  sort  would  happen.  The  Cambrises  are  also  discon 
tented.  Go  from  thence  to  the  Louvre.  Madame  is  in 
bed.  The  Bishop  arrives  ;  he  lays  down  his  hat  and  cane, 
and  takes  a  chair  in  the  manner  of  a  man  determined  to 
stay.  He  confirms  the  news  from  Brittany,  and  adds  that 
the  cochois  (?)  looks  black.  This  brings  to  my  mind  some 
dark  hints  communicated  by  the  Comte  de  Luxembourg 
about  Normandy.  I  told  him,  in  reply  to  his  apprehen 
sions  about  the  dismemberment  of  the  kingdom,  that  if 
Normandy,  Picardy,  Flanders,  Champagne,  and  Alsace 
continued  true  to  the  King,  His  Majesty  might  easily  re 
duce  the  remainder  of  his  kingdom." 

"This  morning  [November  i8th]  while  I  am  writing  La 
Gaze  comes  in.  He  tells  me  that  there  was  last  night  a 
meeting  of  the  actionnaires  de  la  Caisse  a'Escompte.  They 
have  named  the  commissaires  to  treat,  report,  etc.,  on 
Necker's  plan.  The  general  opinion  seems  to  be  opposed  to 


the  plan,  which,  indeed,  I  do  not  wonder  at.  Dine  with 
M.  de  Lafayette  on  the  Quai  du  Louvre.  He  does  not 
come  in  until  long  after  we  had  sat  down  to  dinner,  and 
yet  we  did  not  sit  down  till  five.  After  dinner  I  ask  him 
what  he  thinks  of  Necker's  plan.  He  says  it  is  the  gen 
eral  opinion  that  it  will  not  go  down.  He  adds  that  the 
Bishop  d'Autun,  or  somebody  else,  should  come  for 
ward  with  another.  I  reply  that  no  man  can  properly 
come  forward  with  a  plan  except  the  minister,  because  no 
other  person  can  know  sufficiently  all  the  needful  circum 
stances  ;  that  the  present  administration  must  be  kept  in 
their  seats,  because  the  late  resolution  of  the  Assembly 
prohibits  a  choice  of  ministers  in  their  body.  He  says 
that  he  thinks  he  can  for  once  take  a  ministry  out  of  the 
Assemblee,  provided  he  does  not  name  Mirabeau  and  one 
or  two  others.  Upon  this  I  observe  that  I  do  not  know 
whether  the  Bishop  d'Autun  and  his  friends  will  be  so 
weak  as  to  accept  of  office  in  the  present  wild  situation  of 
affairs  ;  that  nothing  can  be  done  without  the  aid  of  the 
Assemblee,  who  are  incompetent ;  and  that,  the  executive 
authority  being  annihilated,  there  is  but  little  chance  of 
carrying  their  decrees  into  effect,  even  if  they  could  be  in 
duced  to  decree  wisely.  He  says  that  Mirabeau  has  well 
described  the  Assemblee,  which  he  calls  the  Wild  Ass  ;  that 
in  a  fortnight  they  will  be  obliged  to  give  him  authority 
which  he  has  hitherto  declined.  He  shows  clearly  in  his 
countenance  that  it  is  the  wish  of  his  heart.  I  ask  him 
what  authority.  He  says  a  kind  of  dictatorship,  such  as 
Generalissimo,  he  does  not  exactly  know  what  will  be 
the  title.  Upon  this  I  tell  him  again  that  he  ought  to 
discipline  his  troops,  and  remind  him  of  a  former  question, 
viz.,  whether  they  would  obey  him.  He  says  they  will, 
but  immediately  turns  round  and  talks  to  some  other  per 
son.  Here  is  a  vaulting  ambition  which  o'erleaps  itself. 

i739.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  233 

This  man's  mind  is  so  elated  by  power,  already  too  great 
for  the  measure  of  his  abilities,  that  he  looks  into  the 
clouds  and  grasps  at  the  supreme.  From  this  moment 
every  step  in  his  ascent  will,  I  think,  accelerate  his  fall. 
Leave  this  place  and  go  to  the  Louvre.  Madame  has  com 
pany.  Stay  till  they  are  gone.  The  Marquis  de  Montes- 
quiou  was  here  when  I  arrived  ;  he  had  just  entered.  He 
is  running  round  now  to  smell  the  incense  which  will 
be  offered  him  for  his  plan  of  finance,  which  was  this  day 
communicated  to  the  Assembiee.  It  goes,  as  I  am  told, 
upon  the  basis  of  paying  off  the  national  debt  by  a 
sale  of  the  church  property.  I  tell  Madame  that,  if 
this  be  so,  it  will  prove  a  bubble,  for  the  reasons  long 
since  assigned  to  the  Bishop  d'Autun.  The  reliance  on 
this  fund  was  the  radical  defect  of  his  plan.  Go  hence 
to  the  apartments  of  Madame  de  Chastellux.  She  tells 
me  that  the  Marquis  de  Lafayette  intends  to  imitate 
Washington  and  retire  from  public  service  as  soon  as 
the  constitution  is  established.  Perhaps  he  may  be 
lieve  this  himself,  but  nothing  is  more  common  than  to 
deceive  ourselves.  Sup  at  Madame  de  Laborde's.  The 
Comte  de  Luxembourg  tells  me  that  the  opposition  made 
in  some  districts  to  the  recalling  of  the  Gardes  dti  Corps 
has  prevented  the  execution  of  a  plan.  I  do  not  ask 
him  what  it  is,  because  I  do  not  wish  to  know.  He  tells 
me  that  M.  de  Lafayette  committed  a  great  imprudence 
in  telling  him  aloud,  in  the  hearing  of  many  persons,  that 
he  could  not  be  charged  with  preventing  it.  I  collect  from 
this  only  that  there  is  much  latent  animosity  against 
him,  and  that  while  he  is  building  his  castle  others  are 
employed  in  mining  the  foundation." 

"This  morning  [November  i9th],  while  the  Comte  d'Es- 
taing  is  with  me,  I  receive  a  note  from  M.  Le  Coulteux.  He 
has  been  three  hours  yesterday  with  M.  Necker  and  the 

234  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XI. 

Committee  of  Subsistence.  He  says  that  M.  Necker  will 
treat  with  me  for  wheat  at  six  shillings,  but  I  can  obtain 
six  shillings  and  sixpence,  and  that  he  has  fixed  an  inter 
view  for  me  with  Necker  at  seven  this  evening.  He  is 
obliged  to  go  abroad,  therefore  desires  me  to  consider  of 
the  means  of  execution,  and  call  on  him  before  I  go  to  M. 
Necker's.  After  a  walk  through  the  Champs  Elysees,  I 
go  to  the  Palais  Royal  and  dine  with  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans.  Thence  to  the  Louvre  to  get  a  ticket,  which  the 
Bishop  was  to  procure  for  the  Assemblee  of  to-morrow. 
Receive  it,  and  go  to  M.  Le  Coulteux's.  Converse  about 
the  means  of  executing  a  contract,  if  any  is  made.  He 
cannot  furnish  credit  or  money,  etc.  See  M.  Necker. 
He,  I  find,  expects  from  me  a  pointed  proposal,  and  tells 
me  that  M.  Le  Coulteux  had  named  the  quantity  I  would 
deliver,  the  price,  and  the  terms.  I  tell  him  there  is  some 
misunderstanding,  and  take  my  leave." 

"  This  morning  [November  2oth]  I  rise  early  and  go  to 
the  Assemblee.  Stay  there  till  four.  A  tedious  session, 
from  which  I  derived  a  violent  headache.  Mirabeau  and 
Dupont  are  the  two  speakers  on  M.  Necker's  plan  who 
command  the  most  attention,  but  neither  of  them,  in  my 
opinion,  derives  honor  from  the  manner  of  treating  it. 
Probably  it  will  be  adopted,  and  if  so,  it  will  be,  I  think, 
fatal  to  their  finances,  and  completely  derange  them  for 
some  time  to  come.  Sup  at  Madame  de  Stael's  ;  give  her 
my  opinion  of  the  speeches  of  this  morning,  and  show 
one  or  two  things  in  which  M.  Dupont  was  mistaken. 
She  does  not  like  this,  because  he  supported  her  father's 
plan,  which  she  declares  to  be  necessary." 

"Dine  to-day  [November  24th]  with  the  Prince  de 
Broglio.  The  Comte  de  Segur  dines  with  us.  A  pleasant 
company.  The  Bishop  is  of  the  number.  After  dinner  I 
give  him  some  hints  as  to  the  objection  made  by  many  to 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  235 

the  opposers  of  M.  Necker's  plan,  because  they  do  not 
come  forward  with  a  better.  Go  from  hence  to  M.  Neck 
er's.  The  mayor  and  the  Committee  of  Subsistence  waiting 
to  speak  with  him.  Send  in  my  name,  and  in  consequence 
he  comes  out  to  the  antechamber.  I  tell  him  that  I  can 
not  undertake  to  furnish  him  with  wheat ;  that  I  must 
either  ask  for  it  an  extravagant  price  or  risk  a  loss  ;  that 
I  do  not  choose  the  first,  and  will  not  incur  the  second  ; 
that  if  he  has  any  other  plan  for  obtaining  it,  in  which  I 
can  be  useful,  he  may  command  me.  He  is  a  little  disap 
pointed  at  this  intelligence.  Leave  him,  and  pay  my  re 
spects  to  Madame  Necker.  Leave  here  and  go  to  the 
Louvre.  The  insurgents  in  Brabant  seem  to  be  in  a  fair 
way  to  success.  The  Imperialists  are  in  possession  of 
Bruxelles  only,  and  are  besieged  there.  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut,  as  becomes  a  faithful  ally  to  the  Emperor,  quells  all 
insurgency  on  my  part.  Shortly  after  M.  de  Thiard  comes 
in.  He  gives  us  some  account  of  what  has  passed  in 
Brittany.  Among  other  things,  it  happened  that  the  mu 
nicipalities  quarrelled  about  subsistence,  and  the  matter 
went  so  far  as  to  use  force  on  each  side.  Each  in  con 
sequence  gave  orders  to  a  regiment  to  march  against 
the  other,  for  in  each  a  regiment  happened  to  be  quar 
tered.  Luckily,  a  compromise  took  place ;  but  this  is  the 
first-fruits  of  the  new  constitution  of  armies  and  municipal 
ities.  There  will  be  many  others  of  the  like  kind,  for,  when 
mankind  are  resolved  to  disregard  as  vulgar  prejudice 
every  principle  which  has  hitherto  been  established  by 
experience  for  the  government  of  man,  endless  inconsist 
encies  must  be  expected.  Sup  here.  Make  tea  for  Ma 
dame  de  Laborde.  Madame  de  Flahaut  complains  that 
she  has  not  a  handsome  sugar-dish  for  her  tea-equipage. 
This  is  by  way  of  introduction  to  the  story  that  she  (who 
pretends  to  be  very  avaricious)  would  not  accept  of  one 


as  a  present  from  me,  and  that  Madame  de  Laborde,  who 
pretends  to  be  disinterested,  accepted  a  handsome  cup 
and  saucer.  In  fact,  the  latter  was  done  in  consequence 
of  her  urgency.  I  insist  that  this  conduct  arises  from 
pure  malice,  and  write  with  my  pencil  the  following : 

Clara,  your  avarice  you  boast, 

And  boast,  too,  your  good  nature  ; 
I  know  not  which  you  prize  the  most, 

I  guess  which  is  the  greater. 

The  proffered  present  you  refuse, 

But  make  your  friend  receive  ; 
For  what  she  takes  you  her  abuse, 

And  me,  for  what  you  leave. 

This  has  been  a  fine  day,  clear  but  cold.  The  ice  remained 
all  day  in  the  shade." 

"  Go  to  see  [November  26th]  Madame  de  Brehan  and 
M.  de  Moustier,  who  are  just  returned  from  America. 
Converse  with  her  a  considerable  time,  always  inquiring 
news  of  my  country,  and  she  desirous  of  obtaining  the 
state  of  her  own  ;  natural  on  both  sides,  but  of  course 
much  variegated.  M.  de  Moustier  has  much  to  say  about 
the  American  debt,  and  gives  reason  to  believe  that  no 
bargain  can  be  made  for  it.  I  call  on  the  Marechal  de 
Segur,  who  is  ill  with  the  gout.  Some  conversation  about 
the  proposed  reduction  of  the  pensions.  I  disapprove  of 
it,  and  this  disapprobation,  which  with  me  is  sincere,  suits 
very  well  with  the  ideas  of  the  Marechal,  who  is  one  of  the 
most  considerable  pensioners.  See  De  Moustier  again  to 
night  at  Madame  de  La  Suze's.  He  is  now  well  pleased 
with  America  and  believes  in  her  good  disposition  and 
resources ;  is  charged  with  the  request  on  her  part  that 
this  Court  will  make  no  negotiation  whatever  for  the  debt, 
but  will  postpone  the  instalments  for  three  years  longer, 
and  then  the  interest  beginning  with  the  next  year  shall 
be  regularly  provided  for.  I  tell  him  that  I  think  M. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  237 

Necker's  plan  of  borrowing  on  it  in  Holland  is  liable  to  a 
great  objection ;  viz.,  that  the  Dutch  will  not  probably 
lend  without  being  so  authorized  on  the  part  of  the 
United  States  as  to  have  a  claim  upon  them,  because 
otherwise  the  Government  of  America  might  pay  the 
amount  to  France,  and  refuse  to  pay  anything  to  Dutch 
individuals.  He  says  he  has  already  spoken  to  the  Comte 
de  Montmorin  on  this  subject,  and  to  some  members  of 
the  States-General ;  that  he  will  speak  also  to  M.  Necker 
whenever  he  desires  it.  This  will  certainly  interfere  with 
our  former  plan,  and  oblige  us  either  to  change  or  to 
abandon  it.  After  a  long  conversation  with  him,  and  much 
amity  from  him  and  the  Marquise,  I  take  my  leave. 

"See  M.  Laurent  Le  Coulteux  and  tell  him  the  plan 
which  has  been  digested,  of  offering  for  the  debt  to  France 
as  much  of  the  French  stocks  as  would  produce  the  same 
interest.  He  is  so  pleased  with  it  that  he  offers  himself  to 
be  the  negotiator,  provided  he  can  have  sufficient  security 
in  Holland.  This  is  vastly  obliging.  Agree  to  meet  at 
Cantaleu's  this  evening.  Go  to  Van  Staphorst's.  Tell 
him  the  objection  brought  by  Moustier  to  the  negotia 
tion  which  M.  Necker  has  proposed  in  Holland.  He  tells 
us  a  proposition  made  to  him  by  Lafayette  to  act  as  spy 
for  discovery  of  intrigues  of  the  aristocratic  party,  by 
which,  says  Lafayette,  a  civil  war  may  be  prevented.  We 
advise  Van  Staphorst  to  decline  that  honorable  mission. 
Parker  adds  that  it  should  be  declined  verbally,  so  as  to 
leave  no  written  trace  of  the  negotiation.  I  leave  them 
together  and  return  home  to  dress.  The  Comte  de  Lux 
embourg  comes  in  and  tells  me  a  great  deal  of  news,  which 
I  forget  as  fast  as  I  hear  it.  He  has  a  world  of  projects, 
too,  but  I  give  him  one  general  opinion  upon  the  whole, 
that  he  and  his  friends  had  better  take  measures  for  influ 
encing  the  next  elections.  This  afternoon  I  see  Canta- 

238  DIARY    AND   LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XI. 

leu ;  he  seems  to  think  that  De  Moustier's  intelligence  is 
fatal  to  our  project.  We  have  a  great  deal  of  useless  talk  ; 
at  length  it  ends  with  my  desire  to  Cantaleu  that  he 
should  find  out  the  impression  made  by  De  Moustier, 
and  my  promise  to  talk  to  Necker  on  the  subject. 

"  Dine  at  the  Louvre  with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  The 
Bishop  and  his  intimate  friend,  the  Due  de  Biron,  are  of 
the  party.  The  Bishop  asks  my  opinion  of  the  American 
debt.  I  tell  him  that  I  think  well  of  it ;  it  is  a  debt  which 
ought  to  be  paid.  The  Due  de  Biron  says  that  he  thinks 
it  will  be  paid,  and  I  agree  with  him  in  opinion.  I  tell  the 
Bishop  that  there  is  a  proposition  to  be  presented  to  M. 
Necker  for  liquidation  of  it  with  French  effets  bearing 
an  equivalent  interest.  He  thinks  that  the  offer  ought  to 
be  accepted.  After  dinner,  visit  the  Comte  de  Montmorin  ; 
mention  to  him  the  proposition  of  paying  the  debt  with 
effets.  He  desires  money.  He  says  that  they  have  no 
doubt  of  receiving  payment  from  the  United  States,  but 
that  they  want  now  to  receive  money." 

"The  Comte  de  Luxembourg  comes  [November  28th], 
and  detains  me  a  long  time  for  nothing.  Tells  me,  however, 
that  the  party  of  the  Nobles  are  determined  to  be  quiet. 
This  is  the  only  wise  conduct.  A  message  from  Madame 
Necker  to  dine  with  her  ;  I  presume  that  this  is  for  the 
purpose  of  talking  about  a  supply  of  wheat  which  I  en 
gaged  for.  Go  to  M.  Necker's,  and  am  introduced  into  his 
cabinet.  He  broaches  a  conversation  on  the  constitution. 
I  declare  my  opinion  that  what  they  are  now  framing  is 
good  for  nothing,  and  assign  my  reasons.  He  makes  some 
inquiries  respecting  the  American  Constitution,  which  I 
reply  to.  Ask  him  about  wheat  and  tell  him  the  manner 
in  which  I  would  have  executed  a  contract  for  it  had  I 
conceived  such  contract  prudent.  I  tell  him  that  I  shall 
lose  by  the  contract  for  flour,  but  that  nevertheless  it  shall 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  239 

be  executed.  Ask  him  how  he  stands  as  to  his  loan  in 
Holland.  He  says  he  has  some  propositions.  I  tell  him 
that  I  shall  make  him  some  which  will  be  agreeable,  per 
haps,  and  then  go  into  the  salon,  that  he  may  read  a  long 
piece  of  writing  just  put  into  his  hands.  Madame  de 
Stael  comes  in,  who  reproaches  me  for  forsaking  her  ;  I 
apologize,  and  promise  to  sup  next  Wednesday.  We  have 
a  good  deal  of  random  conversation.  Dine,  and  after  din 
ner  tell  M.  Necker  that  a  person  from  London  gives  me 
information  respecting  the  debt  which,  added  to  other 
things,  will  enable  me  to  make  him  a  good  offer  when  he 
has  finished  with  other  people.  He  says  we  will  talk 
about  it  in  his  cabinet  when  I  go  away.  We  retire  thith 
er,  and  then  I  offer  him  as  much  of  capital  in  their  rentes 
perpetudles  as  will  make  the  interest  of  i,6oo,ooof.  now 
payable  by  the  United  States.  He  thinks  the  proposition 
a  good  one,  but  says  he  must  have  half  money.  I  tell 
him  no,  that  is  too  much  ;  he  says  the  sacrifice  of  the  in 
terest  is  too  great,  and  will  expose  the  bargain  to  severe 
criticism.  He  seems  to  think  that  the  report  of  Moustier 
is  not  of  sufficient  weight  to  prevent  the  prosecution  of 
his  plan  in  Holland.  We  finally  part,  he  saying  we  must 

"To-day  [December  ist]  I  prepare  a  note  to  make  M. 
Necker  an  offer  for  the  debt,  which  I  think  he  cannot  re 
fuse.  Dine  with  M.  Boutin  ;*  pretty  large  company  and  a 
very  good  dinner — ires  recherche".  I  have  a  good  deal  of  con 
versation  with  the  Comte  de  Moustier.  He  is  preparing 

*  M.  Boutin,  who  had  filled  the  offices  of  Collector  General  of  the  Revenue, 
Councillor  of  State,  and  Paymaster  of  the  Navy,  had  made,  at  an  enormous 
expense,  a  garden,  which  he  called  "  Tivoli,"  but  for  which  the  popular 
appellation  was  La  Folie-Boutin.  It  was  a  ravishing  garden,  with  surprises 
in  the  way  of  grottoes,  shrubbery,  and  statues  at  every  turn,  and  a  pavilion 
furnished  with  princely  luxury.  In  this  bewildering  place  M.  Boutin  gave 
suppers  no  less  sumptuous  than  the  surroundings. 


a  letter  about  the  American  debt,  and  shows  me  the  heads 
of  it.  I  tell  him  my  plan,  though  not  in  detail,  and  he  likes 
it  because  it  tends  to  defeat  the  views  of  M.  Duer  and  his 
associates,  Claviere  and  Warville.  I  hear  that  Mr.  Short 
is  much  pleased  that  I  have  determined  to  propose  a  plan, 
and  will  call  on  me  to-morrow.  The  Marquis  de  Lafa 
yette  has  spoken  to  Necker,  and  the  latter  has  promised  not 
to  conclude  any  agreement  without  a  previous  communi 
cation  to  Mr.  Short.  Arrive  very  late  at  the  Louvre. 
Communicate  to  the  Bishop  my  plan  for  the  debt,  which 
I  tell  him  I  will  show  him,  and  which,  if  refused  by  M. 
Necker,  may  probably  come  before  the  Assembly.  On 
Thursday  evening  we  are  to  meet  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's, 
to  consider  the  discourse  he  will  pronounce  on  Friday 

"This  morning  [December  2d]  Mr.  Short  calls  and  I 
show  him  the  proposition  I  mean  to  make  to  M.  Necker. 
He  is  much  pleased  with  it.  I  tell  him  that  if  he  approves 
of  it  I  wish  he  would  undertake  to  recommend  it  to  the 
United  States,  as  he  must  see  that  it  will  promote  their 
interest.  He  tells  me  that  his  recommendation  can  have 
but  little  weight,  as  I  must  know,  but  that,  if  necessary, 
he  will  urge  the  adoption  of  it  here.  He  presses  me  to 
make  the  proposition  immediately.  I  tell  him  that  I 
mean  to  show  it  to  Lafayette,  and  for  that  purpose  to  dine 
with  him.  He  likes  this.  He  sets  me  down  at  Lafa 
yette's,  who  arrives  sooner  than  usual  from  the  Hotel  de 
Ville,  and  has  but  little  company.  I  communicate  my 
plan,  which  he  also  is  pleased  with.  I  then  tell  him 
something  of  the  Bishop  d'Autun's  plan.  He  tells  me 
that  the  Bishop  is  to  call  upon  him  Friday  evening.  He 
says  that  Necker  must  be  kept  for  the  sake  of  his  name." 

"  Have  much  conversation  to-day  [December  3d]  with 
various  persons  on  speculations  they  propose  in  the  debt. 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  241 

Dine  at  the  Palais  Royal  at  a  restaurateur's.  Dr.  Senf  tells 
me  that  the  affairs  of  Brabant  are  going  on  well,  that  the 
other  Imperial  provinces  will  soon  join,  that  a  declaration 
of  independence  will  be  the  immediate  consequence,  and 
that  a  treaty  with  England  and  Prussia  will  speedily  fol 
low.  This  I  believe,  because  it  is  probable.  Take  Ma 
dame  de  Flahaut  to  the  Comedie  Frangaise.  Return  to 
the  Louvre.  The  Bishop  comes  in,  according  to  agree 
ment.  He  asks  my  opinion  whether  or  not  to  speak  to 
morrow  in  the  Assemblee,  and  tells  me  the  substance  of 
what  he  means  to  say.  I  make  some  observations  on  the 
heads  of  his  discourse.  Advise  him  to  speak,  but  confine 
himself  as  much  as  possible  to  the  line  of  objections ; 
add  some  reasons  to  be  given  to  the  Assemblee  for  not  pro 
posing  a  plan.  Urge  him  to  treat  the  Caisse  d'Escompte 
with  great  tenderness;  to  blame  the  administrators  as 
such  for  their  imprudence  in  lending  the  Government 
more  than  their  capital,  but  excuse  them  at  the  same  time 
as  citizens  for  their  patriotism  ;  treat  the  arrearage  to  them 
beyond  the  first  loan  of  70,000,000  f.  as  a  sacred  debt,  de 
manding  preference  of  all  others  ;  criticise  M.  Necker's 
plan  very  lightly  if  it  is  like  to  fall,  but  if  he  thinks  it  will 
be  adopted,  very  severely  ;  to  deal  much  in  predictions  as 
to  the  fatal  effects  of  paper  money,  the  agiotage  (stock-job 
bing)  which  must  ensue,  and  the  prostration  of  morals 
arising  from  that  cause ;  finally,  the  danger  which  must 
follow  to  the  public,  and  the  advantage  to  a  future  admin 
istrator  who  shall  think  proper  to  speculate  in  the  paper 
or  funds  ;  that  these  observations  become  him  as  a  clergy 
man  and  as  a  statesman,  and  they  will  be  the  more  proper 
as  his  enemies  charge  him  with  sinister  designs  of  this 
sort.  He  goes  away  to  consider,  as  he  says,  whether  he 
shall  say  anything.  I  urge  again  that,  when  he  comes  into 
the  ministry,  he  will  want  the  Caisse  d'Escompte,  and  tell 


him  at  the  same  time  to  remove  from  the  mind  of  Lafayette 
the  idea  that  he  is  connected  with  the  Duke  of  Orleans." 

"  Go  to  M.  de  Montmorin's  [December  4th]  and  meet,  ac 
cording  to  appointment,  the  Comte  de  Moustier  and  Ma 
dame  de  Brehan.  Show  him  my  proposition  intended  for  M. 
Necker.  He  seems  not  fully  to  approve.  I  rather  think  that 
he  withholds  assent  because  he  thinks  it  like  to  be  very  suc 
cessful,  but  I  may  be  deceived.  At  going  away  the  Comte 
de  Montmorin  asks  why  I  depart  so  soon.  I  tell  him  that 
I  am  going  to  M.  Necker's,  etc.  ;  that  if  he  chooses  I  will 
communicate  to  him  my  proposition,  not  as  a  minister  but 
as  a  friend.  He  asks  to  see  it,  examines  it  with  attention, 
requires  explanations,  and  finally  approves  it  much,  and 
offers  to  speak  to  M.  Necker  on  the  subject.  I  desire  him 
not,  lest  M.  Necker  should  think  I  have  been  deficient  in 
respect.  Go  to  M.  Necker's  ;  he  is  gone  to  council.  Con 
verse  with  Madame  in  such  a  way  as  to  please  her.  She 
asks  me  to  dine  to-morrow.  I  mention  my  prior  engage 
ment,  but  say  I  will  come  after  dinner,  as  I  wish  to  see  M. 
Necker.  She  tells  me  I  had  better  corne  to  dinner.  I 
will  if  I  can.  Go  to  the  opera.  After  a  while  the  Comte 
de  Luxembourg  comes  into  the  loge.  He  has  something 
to  say  of  politics.  I  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  home. 
The  Comte  de  Luxembourg  comes  in  ;  he  takes  her  aside 
and  has  a  conversation,  the  purport  whereof  is  to  offer  to 
the  Bishop  the  support  of  the  aristocratic  faction.  I  doubt 
much  his  being  authorized  to  make  this  offer.  Leave  them 
together,  and  go  to  Madame  de  StaeTs.  Music  here.  She 
sings  and  does  everything  to  impress  the  heart  of  the 
Comte  de  Segur.  Her  lover,  De  Narbonne,  is  returned. 
Segur  assures  me  of  his  fidelity  to  his  wife.  I  join  heart 
ily  in  praise  of  her,  and  truly  assure  him  that  I  love  her  as 
much  for  her  children  as  for  her  own  sake,  and  she  is  cer 
tainly  a  very  lovely  woman.  After  supper  De  Narbonne 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  243 

tells  us  that  he  is  authorized  by  Franche  Comte  to  accuse 
the  Comitt  des  Recherches.  This  committee  is  very  like 
what  was  called  in  the  State  of  New  York  the  Tory  Com 
mittee,  of  which  Duer  was  a  leading,  a  committee 
for  detecting  and  defeating  all  conspiracies,  etc.  Thus  it 
is  that  mankind  in  similar  situations  always  adopt  a  corre 
spondent  conduct.  I  had  some  conversation  before  sup 
per  with  the  Comte  de  Segur,  who  disapproves  of  the 
Bishop's  oration,  and  so,  indeed,  do  most  others.  And 
they  blame  particularly  those  things  which  I  had  advised 
him  to  alter.  He  has  something  of  the  author  about  him. 
But  the  tender  attachment  to  our  literary  productions  is 
by  no  means  suitable  to  a  minister  :  to  sacrifice  great  ob 
jects  for  the  sake  of  small  ones  is  an  inverse  ratio  of  moral 
proportion.  Leave  Madame  de  StaeTs  early.  Set  down 
M.  de  Bonnet,  who  tells  me  that  I  am  to  succeed  Mr. 
Jefferson.  I  tell  him  that  if  the  place  is  offered  it  will  be 
difficult  for  me  not  to  accept,  but  that  I  wish  it  may  not 
be  offered." 

"  This  morning  [December  5th],  Mr.  Parker  calls  and 
tells  me  that  Necker  will  treat  upon  the  terms  I  am  to 
propose.  He  says  that  he  is  convinced,  from  the  conver 
sation  he  has  had  with  Ternant,  that  Necker  would  not 
have  been  permitted  to  deal  for  the  debt  under  par,  and 
that  therefore  no  agreement  could  have  taken  effect  un 
less  concluded  privately.  Go  to  Madame  Necker's  to 
dine.  Madame  de  Stael  comes  in,  and  at  the  instigation 
of  her  husband  asks  me  to  dine  next  Wednesday.  At 
dinner  we  converse  pretty  freely  of  political  subjects  and, 
in  consequence  of  an  observation  I  make,  Necker  exclaims 
in  English,  '  Ridiculous  nation  ! '  He  does  not  know  that 
my  servant  understands  English.  After  dinner  in  the 
salon  I  take  him  aside,  to  ask  if  he  has  considered  my 
proposition.  He  tells  me  that  a  Colonel  Ternant  has  a 


plan.  I  tell  him  that  the  one  I  now  give  is  the  same,  that 
my  last  proposition  was  the  utmost  that  the  houses  here 
would  agree  to,  and  therefore  what  I  now  offer  is  without 
their  participation.  He  asks  if  we  are  prepared  to  lay 
down  the  French  effets.  I  tell  him  no.  He  says  he  can 
not  listen  to  propositions  which  give  him  no  solid  secu 
rity.  I  reply  that  no  house  in  Europe  is  sufficient  for  so 
large  a  sum,  and  therefore  security  as  such  is  nonsense, 
but  that  he  shall  run  no  risk,  for  he  shall  not  part  with 
the  effets  till  he  receives  payment.  He  objects  that  he 
will  still  have  no  certainty  of  the  payment,  and  wants  to 
know  how  I  shall  make  the  operation.  I  tell  him  that  it 
is  by  means  of  our  connections  in  America  and  in  Hol 
land,  that  we  can  do  the  business  better  than  he  can,  and 
therefore  we  can  give  him  better  terms  than  he  can  ob 
tain  from  others.  He  insists  that  the  proposition  shall  be 
supported  by  solid  security  before  he  will  consider  it  ;  I 
tell  him  that  this  is  not  just,  that  there  are  two  points  for 
his  consideration  :  First,  whether  the  offer  is  good,  and, 
secondly,  whether  he  is  sufficiently  secured  ;  that  if  the 
offer  is  not  good,  it  is  useless  to  talk  of  security,  but  if  it 
be  such  as  he  ought  to  accept,  then  it  will  be  proper  to 
know  what  kind  of  responsibility  will  be  sufficient.  In 
the  meantime  it  would  render  me  ridiculous  to  ask  secu 
rity  for  performance  of  a  bargain  not  made.  To  this  he 
replies  that  if  I  once  get  his  promise  I  shall  make  use  of 
it  as  a  ground  to  negotiate  upon  and  go  about  knocking 
at  the  doors  of  different  people.  This  is  not  a  very  deli 
cate  comparison.  I  reply  in  a  tone  of  dissatisfaction, 
mingled  perhaps  with  a  little  pride,  that  I  shall  knock  at 
no  doors  but  such  as  are  already  open  to  me.  Our  con 
versation  is  loud,  he  makes  it  so  purposely,  and  at  this 
point  Madame  de  Stael,  with  the  good-natured  intention 
of  avoiding  ill-humor,  desires  me  to  send  her  father  to  sit 

1789-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  245 

next  to  her.  I  tell  her,  smiling,  that  it  is  a  dangerous 
task  to  send  away  M.  Necker,  and  those  who  tried  it  once 
had  sufficient  cause  to  repent  it.  This  latter  observation 
brings  back  good-humor,  and  he  seems  inclined  to  talk 
further  with  me,  but  I  take  no  further  notice  of  him,  and, 
after  chatting  a  little  with  different  people,  I  take  leave. 
Go  to  Parker's  and  tell  him  what  has  passed,  which  of 
course  disappoints  him  not  a  little.  We  consider  of  what 
is  next  to  be  done,  and,  after  canvassing  the  matter  a  good 
deal,  agree  that  we  will  sleep  upon  it,  and  give  him  time 
to  cool." 

"  This  morning  [December  6th]  Mr.  Parker  comes  and 
tells  me  that  Colonel  Ternant  says  Necker  shall  be 
forced  to  accept  the  proposition.  He  will  meet  me  this 
day  at  the  Comte  de  Montmorin's  at  dinner.  Go  to  Ma 
dame  de  Flahaut's.  We  converse  on  affairs  ;  the  Bishop  re 
grets  much  that  he  did  not  follow  my  advice.  She  cen 
sured  severely  last  night  his  advisers,  in  the  presence  of 
M.  de  Suzeval,  who  is  one  of  the  principal  ones.  He  ac 
knowledged  that  he  had  done  wrong,  and  regretted  his 
weakness.  The  Comte  de  Luxembourg,  who  was  to  have 
been  of  her  party  for  dinner,  sends  an  apology,  and  we 
then  agree  that  I  shall  stay  and  dine  in  order  to  converse 
with  the  Bishop  about  Laborde's  plan  of  finance.  The 
Bishop  arrives,  and  tells  me  what  has  passed  on  the  sub 
ject.  It  appears  that  M.  Laborde  has  behaved  with  mean 
ness  and  treachery.  The  plan  is  Panchaut's.  It  was  de 
livered  to  Laborde  by  the  Bishop  to  consider  of  the 
practicability  in  a  pecuniary  point  of  view,  and  with  a 
declaration  that  he  desired  to  obtain  by  that  means  a  pro 
vision  for  Panchauts  family,  who  are  indigent.  After 
many  conferences,  Laborde  declared  that  the  two  hundred 
millions  required  could  not  be  obtained.  In  consequence 
the  Bishop  made  the  declarations  contained  in  his  speech, 


and  M.  Laborde  came  forward  the  next  day  with  his  plan, 
which  requires  three  hundred  millions,  and  criticised  what 
had  been  said  by  his  friend.  The  plan  seems  to  be  very 
much  like  what  I  had  thought  of,  and  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut,  to  whom  I  had  given  this  morning  a  few  outlines  of 
my  scheme,  was  astonished  at  the  resemblance  or,  rather, 
at  the  identity.  Consider  some  notes,  etc.,  which  the 
Bishop  is  about  to  add  to  his  speech  now  in  press.  I 
then  communicate  to  him  my  plan  for  the  American  debt. 
But  first  I  ask  whether  a  caisse  d'escompte  will  be 
established,  and  whether  the  American  debt  will  be  trans 
ferred  to  it  as  a  part  of  the  fund.  He  tells  me  that  he  thinks 
both  will  be  done.  I  tell  him  that  I  wish  they  may,  and  then 
state  to  him  M.  Necker's  conversation  with  me,  and  remark 
on  the  folly  of  asking  from  an  individual  adequate  secu 
rity  to  the  amount  of  forty  millions.  He  agrees  with  me 
entirely,  and  I  think  that  M.  Necker  will  sooner  or  later 
have  reason  to  regret  that  he  treated  my  offer  with  so 
much  contempt.  Immediately  after  dinner  I  go  to  M.  de 
Montmorin's.  He  is  engaged  in  conversation  with  a  gen 
tleman  who  detains  him  until  he  is  obliged  to  retire  to  his 
bureau.  Go  and  sit  with  Madame  de  Corney  some  time, 
and  explain  the  nature  of  my  agreement  for  flour,  as  I 
find  that  De  Corney  had  been  informed  of  a  contract  I  had 
made  with  the  city  and  which  does  not  exist.  He  might 
have  supposed  that  I  did  not  deal  candidly  with  him.  Go 
hence  to  Madame  Dumolley's.  Some  political  conversa 
tion,  with  a  degree  of  heat  that  is  inconceivable  among  so 
polite  a  people.  Thence  to  the  Louvre,  where  I  stay  till 
near  twelve.  A  large  company.  I  tell  the  Bishop  what 
has  passed  with  De  Cantaleu,  for  which  he  is  much  obliged 
to  me." 

"To-day  [December  8th],  while  I  am  calling  on  M.  de 
Montmorin,  who  is  trying  to  discover  Necker's  reasons 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  247 

against  the  proposition,  De  Moustier  comes  in.  He  says 
that  he  has  just  delivered  a  letter  to  the  porter  on  the  sub 
ject  of  the  American  debt ;  that  all  negotiation  upon  it 
must  be  deferred.  I  think  he  has  endeavored  to  throw 
cold  water  on  my  plan.  Tell  Colonel  Ternant  so,  who  says 
that  he  should  equally  oppose  it  in  any  other  circum 
stances,  but  that  the  distresses  of  France  form  a  sufficient 
reason  now  for  the  adoption." 

"  On  Wednesday  at  three  I  dine  with  Madame  de  Stae'l. 
After  dinner  M.  Clermont-Tonnerre  reads  us  a  discourse 
he  intends  to  deliver  in  the  Assemblee.  It  is  very  elo 
quent  and  much  admired.  I  make,  however,  one  or  two 
observations  on  the  reasoning,  which  bring  the  company 
to  an  opinion  adverse  to  his.  He  goes  away  mortified, 
and  thus  I  think  I  have  made  an  enemy.  We  shall  see. 
Go  to  the  Carrousel,  and  stay  till  twelve.  The  company  is 
large  and  I  employ  the  time  in  reading.  The  Comte  de 
Luxembourg  tells  me  that  some  persons  meditate  a  mas 
sacre  of  the  King,  Queen,  and  Nobles.  I  tell  him  that  I 
do  not  believe  it." 

"To-day  [December  i2th],  dine  with  the  Duchess  at  the 
Palais  Royal.  Afterwards  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  to 
the  opera — *  Didon,'  with  the  '  Chercheuse  d'esprit,'  a  ballet. 
These  form  anything  except  rational  amusement.  M. 
Necker's  chief  clerk,  who  was  the  other  day  at  M.  de  Mont- 
morin's,  assured  M.  de  Montmorin  that  he  thought  my 
proposal  for  the  debt  such  as  the  minister  ought  to  adopt. 
A  small  company  at  the  Louvre  ;  we  sup,  and  I  leave  them 
together  at  play.  The  Bishop  d'Autun  says  the  committee 
have  been  engaged  all  this  evening  with  M.  Necker  in 
considering  how  one  hundred  and  thirty  millions  of  paper 
can  be  issued  with  the  least  inconveniency.  The  affairs 
are  in  a  sad  condition  indeed,  and  I  think  they  will  not 
mend  speedily." 


"  After  dinner  to-day  [December  i3th],  go  to  the  Lou 
vre  and  find  my  amiable  friend  in  tears.  She  has  been  to 
see  her  religieuse,  who  is  ill  and  suffering  from  a  scorbutic 
complaint,  and  suffering  from  the  neglect  of  her  sister 
nuns  also.  She  reproaches  herself  with  not  having  been 
to  pay  her  a  visit  for  several  days,  by  which  means  she 
was  ignorant  of  her  situation.  She  has  given  orders  for  a 
better  treatment.  I  administer  all  the  consolation  in  my 
power,  and  that  consists  first  in  sympathy,  which  is  very 
sincere  ;  then  in  attenuating  the  evil.  I  then  take  her  to 
the  opera,  and  leave  her  there." 

"At  Madame  de  Chastellux's  to-day  [December  i4th], 
we  have  a  large  breakfast  party,  and  the  Abbe  Delille 
reads  or  rather  repeats  to  us  some  of  his  verses,  which  are 
fine  and  well  delivered.  Go  to  the  Louvre.  The  Bishop 
is  there  ;  he  mentions  a  plan  for  issuing  billets  d1  Etat  bear 
ing  interest.  I  show  him  the  folly  of  such  a  measure. 
He  says  it  is  a  plan  of  Montesquiou's,  to  which  I  reply 
that,  as  none  of  the  plans  likely  to  be  adopted  are  good 
they  may  as  well  take  that  of  M.  Necker,  since  otherwise 
they  enable  his  friends  to  say  that  the  mischief  arises  from 
not  having  followed  his  advice ;  that,  besides,  if  paper 
money  be  issued,  that  of  the  Caisse  is  quite  as  good  as 
any  other.  He  says  that  by  taking  a  bad  step  France 
may  be  ruined.  I  tell  him  that  is  impossible,  and  he  may 
tranquillize  himself  about  it  ;  that  whenever  they  resort  to 
taxation  credit  will  be  restored,  and,  the  credit  once  re 
stored,  it  will  be  easy  to  put  the  affairs  of  the  Caisse  in 
order.  Go  to  the  Palais  Royal,  not  having  been  able  to 
leave  Madame  de  Flahaut  till  four.  I  arrive  when  dinner 
is  half  over.  After  dinner  the  Abbe  Delille  entertains 
us  with  some  further  repetitions.  Go  to  club,  and  thence 
to  the  Comte  de  Moustier's.  Sit  a  while  with  him,  and  Ma 
dame  de  Brehan.  Go  together  to  Madame  de  Puisignieu's. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  249 

Spend  the  evening.  Conversation  chiefly  with  De  Mous- 
tier.  I  find  that,  notwithstanding  public  professions  as 
to  the  public  proceedings  of  America,  both  De  Moustier 
and  Madame  de  Brehan  have  a  thorough  dislike  to  the 
country  and  its  inhabitants.  The  society  of  New  York  is 
not  sociable,  the  provisions  of  America  are  not  good,  the 
climate  is  very  damp,  the  wines  are  abominable,  the  peo 
ple  are  excessively  indolent." 



The  opera.  Gardell  and  Vestris.  Strictures  on  the  character  of  the  peo 
ple  of  France.  The  Caisse  Patriotique  opened.  Paris  gay  with  uni 
forms.  People  sacrifice  their  jewels  for  the  public  benefit.  Morris 
disapproves  of  Necker's  plan  of  finance.  Resolutions  passed  in  the 
Assembly  which  affect  Protestants.  The  public  debt.  The  king's 
brother  goes  to  the  Commons.  Monsieur  and  the  Favras  conspiracy. 
Lafayette  intriguing  deeply.  Morris  makes  punch  for  the  society 
at  Madame  de  Vannoise's.  His  first  suggestion  of  settling  the 
banks  of  the  St.  Lawrence.  Asked  for  information  about  America. 
Ceremony  of  saluting  the  ladies  with  a  kiss  on  New  Year's  eve. 

THE  opera  to-night  [December  i5th]  is  a  new  one, 
and  very  good.  I  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  en 
joy  it  with  me.  It  has  as  little  of  the  inevitable  evil  of  an 
opera  as  can  easily'be  supposed,  but  the  radical  vices  re 
main  ;  the  scenery  is  fine.  After  the  opera,  Gardell  and 
then  Vestris  exhibit  their  muscular  genius.  The  latter 
seems  almost  to  step  on  air.  It  is  a  prodigious  piece  of 
human  mechanism.  Take  M.  and  Madame  Robert  (the 
painter)  from  the  opera,  and  go  afterwards  to  the  Louvre. 
M.  St.  Priest  is  here.  We  are  to  sup  trio.  The  Vicomte 
de  St.  Priest  comes  in — a  coxcomb,  and,  what  is  worse,  an 
old  one.  The  conversation  is  dull." 

"To-day  [December  i6th]  I  hear  that  the  Comte  de 
Montmorin  says  M.  Necker  is  ready  to  accept  my  pro 
posal  as  soon  as  a  solid  house  in  Europe  will  come  for 
ward  with  the  offer  ;  that  the  plan  I  have  offered  suits 
(as  M.  de  Montmorin  says)  this  government  exactly,  and 
must  be  very  well  if  it  suits  the  United  States  as  well.  At 
Madame  de  Laborde's  I  am  introduced  to  Madame  d'Houde- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  2$  I 

tot,  who  is  the  protectrice  of  Crevecceur,  who  is  much 
courted  by  the  academicians,  who  was  the  only  beloved 
of  Rousseau,  who  had  at  the  same  time  another  lover,  a 
happy  one,  and  who  is,  I  think,  one  of  the  ugliest  women 
I  ever  saw,  even  without  her  squint,  which  is  of  the  worst 

"  Madame  de  Flahaut  tells  me  to-night  that  Montesquieu 
will  propose  to-morrow  a  plan  of  finance,  which  consists 
in  issuing  a  large  sum  of  billets  d' Etat  bearing  interest ; 
but  if  the  report  of  the  committee  to  be  made  by  Le  Can- 
taleu  is  adopted  by  acclamation,  Montesquiou  will  be 
silent.  He  and  the  Bishop  were  with  her  this  evening 
and  they  discussed  the  matter  together.  She  asks  my 
opinion.  I  tell  her  it  is  good  for  nothing,  and  give  one  or 
two  reasons.  I  add  that  the  more  reasonable  their  plan, 
the  more  unreasonable  is  their  conduct  in  offering  it. 
But  the  character  of  this  country  is  precipitation,  not 
to  mention  the  vaulting  ambition  which  o'erleaps  itself. 
There  is,  besides,  a  spur  to  prick  the  sides  of  their  intent 
with  all  the  sharpness  of  necessity,  for  both  these  gentle 
men  are  not  a  little  out  at  elbows.  The  Marquis  de  Mon 
tesquiou  comes  in.  He  tells  me  the  plan  of  finance  re 
ported  by  the  committee  and  that  which  he  means  to  move 
in  substitution.  The  first  is  complicated,  and  it  would 
seem  that  the  farmers  have,  by  bewildering,  convinced 
themselves.  The  second  is  simple,  but  liable  to  a  little  ob 
jection  which  the  author  had  overlooked  ;  I  state  it.  He 
endeavors  to  obviate  it ;  in  effect,  he  feels  attached  to  his 
plan,  which  is  natural,  but  if  adopted,  I  think  it  will  work 
evil  to  him  as  well  as  to  the  country,  for  the  paper  money 
must  depreciate.  He  asks  whether,  in  my  opinion,  the 
paper  proposed  by  the  committee  will  sustain  its  value.  I 
tell  him  no,  but  that  he  had  better  let  the  plan  of  his  op 
ponents  do  the  mischief.  He  seems  to  be  convinced 


against  his  will,  and  therefore,  according  to  '  Hudibras,'  is, 
I  presume,  of  the  same  opinion  still." 

On  the  1 7th  of  December  the  report  of  the  ten  com 
missioners  was  presented  to  the  Assembly.  On  the  ipth, 
Morris  says  :  "  The  Bishop  just  come  from  the  Assem- 
blee  ;  says  they  have  passed  tumultuously  the  plan  of 
the  committee  grounded  on  the  plan  of  M.  Necker.  He 
seems  much  dissatisfied  with  it."  Necker's  plan  adopted, 
the  Caisse  Patriotique  was  opened,  and  into  it  flowed 
every  imaginable  thing,  of  great  or  small  value — precious 
stones,  articles  of  jewellery,  "mouches"  boxes,  some  time 
since  abandoned  by  the  ladies.  Great  ladies  sacrificed  their 
jewels,  and  adorned  themselves  with  ribbons  instead. 
Madame  de  Genlis  and  Madame  de  Bulard,  to  give  em 
phasis  to  their  patriotic  feelings,  wore  pieces  of  the  stone 
of  the  Bastille  set  in  laurel  leaves,  pinned  on  with  a  forest 
of  ribbons  of  the  three  colors.  The  king  and  queen  con 
tributed  their  share,  in  gold  plates  and  dishes  of  great 
value.  A  spasm  of  generosity  possessed  all  ranks,  and 
rivalled  the  soldier  fever,  which  for  months  had  been 
strong,  and  had  filled  the  streets  of  Paris  with  the  most 
fantastic  costumes  imaginable,  of  which  red,  green,  and 
gold  epaulets  were  a  brilliant  feature.  Each  district  had 
its  distinctive  color  and  mode,  but  all  united  in  car 
rying  the  tricolor,  in  the  manufacture  of  which  all  the 
available  material  in  Paris  seems  to  have  been  sacrificed. 
During  the  last  month  of  1789  a  loan  of  eighty  millions 
was  made  to  the  Caisse  d'Escompte.  As  to  the  new  plan, 
the  diary  says  : 

"At  Madame  de  Segur's  this  morning  [December  2oth] 
her  brother,  M.  d'Aguesseau  asked  my  opinion  of  the  new 
plan  of  finance.  I  gave  it  very  candidly,  but  find  from 
Madame  Chastellux  this  evening  that  it  made  a  very  som 
bre  impression  upon  his  mind.  M.  de  Montmorin  tells 


me  that  M.  Necker  is  pleased  with  my  proposition,  and 
willing  to  treat  with  me,  provided  I  can  show  that  I  am  au 
thorized  by  persons  of  sufficient  property  in  Europe  to 
create  a  due  responsibility.  I  communicate  to  him  what 
passed  with  M.  Necker,  and,  if  I  can  judge  rightly  of  this 
conversation,  the  Count  at  least  (and  probably  M.  Necker) 
is  desirous  of  bringing  this  business  to  a  conclusion.  He 
asks  me  if  he  may  speak  to  M.  Necker  about  it.  I  tell 
him  yes,  and  that  I  will  take  an  opportunity  one  day  to 
call  at  M.  Necker's  coffee,  and  converse  with  him  if  he 

"The  Assemblee  passed  to-day  [December  24th]  a  reso 
lution  which  gives  the  Protestants  admission  (by  neces 
sary  implication)  to  the  offices  of  state.  The  Bishop  is 
much  pleased  with  it,  but  said  nothing  in  its  support.  I 
advise  him  to  have  his  conduct  remarked  in  some  of  the 
journals,  because  that  his  order  is  already  against  him, 
and  therefore  he  must  secure  the  interest  of  those  who  are 
against  his  order." 

"  M.  de  Moustier  tells  me  to-day  [December  25th]  that 
some  persons  were  arrested  last  night  in  consequence  of  a 
plot  formed  to  assassinate  M.  de  Lafayette,  M.  Bailly,  and 
M.  Necker,  and  to  carry  the  King  off  into  Picardy.  I  don't 
believe  a  word  of  the  plot.  It  will,  however,  serve  a  certain 
purpose  to  the  inventors.  Moustier  tells  me  further  that 
Necker  is  prepared  to  accept  my  offer,  and  vaunts  much 
his  services  in  the  business,  all  which  I  know  how  to  esti 
mate  at  the  just  value.  The  conversation  at  Madame  de 
Chastellux's  this  Christmas  evening  is  sensible,  but  not  mar- 
quante.  The  Comtesse  de  Segur  tells  me  that  M.  du 
Fresne,  who  is  M.  Necker's  right-hand  man,  says  that  his 
chief  is  not  equal  to  his  business.  The  Duchess  comes  in, 
and  Mr.  Short.  I  tell  him  of  Moustier's  eagerness  to  show 
his  utility  to  America,  and  add  that  certainly  if  the  plan 


takes  effect  it  must  be  attributed  to  him,  Parker,  and  myself. 
Go  to  Madame  de  Guibert's  to  supper.  After  supper  a 
question  is  agitated  respecting  the  Dauphin,  father  to 
Louis  Seize  and  the  Due  de  Choiseul,  which  leads  to  the 
subject  of  poisons.  M.  de  Laborde  mentions  a  very  ex 
traordinary  kind  of  poison  as  being  notorious,  and  de 
tailed  in  the  dictionary  of  medicines.  It  consists  in  fat 
tening  a  hog  with  portions  of  arsenic,  and  then  distilling 
his  flesh,  which  gives  a  poisonous  water  of  slow  but  sure 
effect.  He  appeals,  then,  to  the  Count  de  Thiare  for  the 
truth  of  this  extraordinary  fact.  A  lady  at  court  asked 
for  a  glass  of  water.  It  was  brought,  and  she  drank  it. 
Immediately  she  burst  into  tears,  declaring  that  she  was 
poisoned,  and  told  the  King,  '  It  is  that  villain/  point 
ing  to  one  of  his  attendants,  'who  has  done  it.'  The 
King  rallied  her  on  the  subject,  but  she  went  away  greatly 
distressed,  and  died  in  about  eight  days.  The  person  she 
had  designated  asked  leave,  in  the  interim,  to  go  and  look 
after  his  affairs  in  Savoie,  went  off,  and  was  never  heard 
of.  We  afterwards  get  upon  finance,  and  M.  de  Guibert, 
who  loves  to  hear  himself  talk,  says  a  good  deal  to  prove 
that  he  knows  but  little.  He  is,  however,  a  violent  Neck- 
erist.  I  leave  this  house  before  twelve,  being  not  very 
well.  It  has  been  a  fine  day,  but  Paris,  on  this  great  fes 
tival  of  the  nativity,  shows  how  much  she  has  fallen  by 
the  revolution.  The  paper  of  the  Caisse  keeps  going 
down,  and  is  now  at  two  per  cent,  discount.  The  actions 
also  fall  fast,  which  is  very  natural." 

"A  member  of  the  Committee  of  Finance  mentions  at  the 
club  to-day  [December  26th]  that  the  totality  of  the  public 
debt  here  is  about  4,700,000,000!,  including  herein  all  re 
imbursements  of  charges  of  every  kind,  and  calculating 
the  viaglres  [life  annuities]  at  ten  years'  purchase  ;  that  it 
may  amount,  perhaps,  to  4,800,000,0001.,  that  is,  to  200,000,- 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  255 

ooo  pounds  sterling.  This,  then,  is  the  extreme  of  a  burthen 
which  this  kingdom  totters  under.  The  Abbe  d'Espagnac 
insists  that  it  is  not  so  much  by  a  great  deal.  While  the  dis 
pute  on  this  subject  is  at  its  height,  a  gentleman  arrives 
who  communicates  the  extraordinary  intelligence  that 
Monsieur,  the  King's  brother,  has  been  to  the  Commons 
and  made  a  speech  on  the  subject  of  a  charge  circulated 
against  him  yesterday,  that  he  was  at  the  head  of  the  sup 
posed  plot  against  M.  Bailly  and  M.  de  Lafayette.  Go  to 
Madame  de  Chastellux's.  While  there  the  Chevalier  de 
Graave  brings  us  Monsieur's  speech.  It  is  very  well  writ 
ten,  but  has  the  fault  of  calling  himself  a  citizen,  and, 
again,  his  audience  fellow-citizens.  Go  to  the  Louvre. 
Madame  tells  the  history  of  this  speech.  Monsieur  yes 
terday,  upon  hearing  of  the  slander,  applied  to  the  Due  de 
Livi,  who,  not  knowing  what  advice  to  give  him,  applied 
to  the  Bishop  d'Autun,  who  made  the  speech  for  him. 
This  morning  Monsieur  applied  to  the  King,  and  asked 
him  if  he  meant  to  send  another  of  his  brothers  out  of  the 
kingdom  ;  then  went  on  to  complain  of  the  slander.  This 
touches  Lafayette,  who  has  too  many  of  these  little  matters 
on  the  anvil.  It  was  then  determined  that  Monsieur  should 
go  to  the  Ville,  etc." 

"At  half-past  two  [December  27th]  visit  Madame  de 
Flahaut.  The  Bishop  d'Autun  is  there.  She  reads  me  a 
letter  he  has  written  to  the  author  of  the  Courrier  de 
r Europe  explaining  his  plan.  I  make  to  him  sundry  ob 
servations  concerning  it,  but  refuse  to  take  it  with  me  and 
make  notes.  After  he  is  gone  she  asks  me  not  to  men 
tion  to  Lafayette,  as  was  intended,  the  archiepiscopacy 
of  Paris  for  the  Bishop  d'Autun,  but  to  show  the  advan 
tages  which  may  be  derived  from  the  step  taken  by  Mon 
sieur.  Go  to  M.  de  Lafayette's.  After  dinner  I  speak 
to  Lafayette  about  Monsieur's  speech  to  the  Commons. 


He  takes  Short*  and  me  into  his  closet.  Tells  us  that  for 
a  long  time  he  has  had  information  of  a  plot  ;  that  he 
has  followed  the  track,  and  at  length  took  up  M.  de 
Favras  ;  that  on  M.  de  Favras  was  found  a  letter  from 
Monsieur  which  seemed  to  show  that  he  was  but  too  deep 
ly  concerned  in  it ;  that  he  had  immediately  waited  upon 
him  with  that  letter,  which  he  delivered,  telling  Monsieur 
that  it  was  known  only  to  him  and  M.  Bailly — consequent 
ly,  that  he  was  not  compromised  ;  that  Monsieur  was 
much  rejoiced  at  this  intelligence  ;  that  yesterday  morn 
ing,  however,  he  sent  for  him,  and,  being  surrounded  by 
his  courtiers,  spoke  in  high  terms  respecting  a  note  which 
had  been  circulated  the  evening  before  charging  him 
with  being  at  the  head  of  the  conspiracy.  Lafayette  told 
him  that  he  knew  of  but  one  way  to  discover  the  authors, 
which  was  by  offering  a  reward,  which  should  be  done  ; 
that  Monsieur  then  declared  his  determination  to  go  to 
the  town-house  in  the  afternoon,  and  that  in  consequence 
due  preparation  was  made  to  receive  him  when  he  should 
come  ;  that  he  came,  and  pronounced  the  speech  we  have 
seen,  which  was  written  by  Mirabeau,  whom  he  considers 
as  an  abandoned  rascal.  Every  man  is  dear  to  himself. 
All  the  world  knew  Mirabeau  to  be  a  rascal  when  Lafa 
yette  connected  himself  with  him  ;  but  it  is  in  this  moment 
only  that  he  feels  the  misery  of  such  a  connection.  I  re 
mind  him  of  the  warnings  I  had  given  with  respect  to 
Mirabeau,  and  add  the  intelligence  which  the  Comte  de 
Luxembourg  desired  me  to  convey  ;  viz.,  that  Mirabeau 
had  sworn  he  would  ruin  Lafayette.  I  then  tell  him  that 
this  step  of  Monsieur's  has  thrown  the  cards  into  his  hands  ; 
that  he  has  placed  himself  at  the  head  of  the  revolution, 
in  which  place  he  ought  to  be  kept,  because,  if  there 

*  William  Short,  charge  d'affaires  during  Jefferson's  official  residence  at 
Paris,  was  at  this  time  the  only  representative  of  the  United  States  in  Paris. 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  257 

should  happen  any  counter-revolution,  he  secures  the  heads 
of  all  others  against  accidents,  and  if  the  revolution  is 
fully  effected,  the  nullity  of  his  character  will  of  course  se 
clude  him  from  all  weight  and  authority.  He  relishes 
this  idea.  I  then  take  the  opportunity  to  inculcate  upon 
his  mind  anew  the  advantage  of  an  administration  whose 
characters  are  fair,  which  appears  strongly  in  the  case  of 
M.  Necker,  to  whose  probity  everything  is  pardoned.  He 
feels  conviction,  but  it  will  not  last.  His  temper  is  turned 
towards  intrigue  and  must  unite  itself  to  them  of  similar 
disposition.  At  going  away  I  ask  him  if  he  sees  often  the 
gentleman  I  presented  to  him.  He  says  that  he  does  not. 
Mentions,  however,  his  name  (the  Bishop  d'Autun),  which 
I  did  not  intend,  and  tells  me  that  he  desired  to  have  given 
him  the  King's  library,  with  the  Abbe  de  Sieyes  *  under 
him,  as  a  step  toward  r Education  nationale,  which  is  the 
Bishop's  hobby-horse.  I  undertake  to  make  this  com 
munication  at  his  request.  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux. 
She  tells  me  that  Monsieur  is  not  much  applauded  in  so 
ciety,  that  is,  in  good  company.  I  am  not  at  all  surprised 
at  this.  Go  from  hence  to  Madame  de  Laborde's,  having 
first  written  a  little  extempore  address  to  the  Duchess  as 
from  Madame  de  Chastellux,  to  whom  she  had  presented 
a  small  clock  comme  dtrennes  : 

To  show  how  the  minutes  glide  swiftly  away, 

Dear  Princess,  a  present  you  send ; 
Oh  come,  by  your  presence  this  loss  to  repay, 

Oh  come  at  the  call  of  your  friend. 

Your  goodness  has  taught  me  those  moments  to  prize, 

Your  kindness  their  value  bestows, 
And  my  love,  like  the  bounty  which  beams  from  your  eyes, 

Each  moment  more  fervently  glows." 

*  Abbe  Sieyes,  a  central  figure  through  all  the  years  of  the  French  Revolu 
tion,  from  the  moment  of  writing,  in  1789,  the  brochure  entitled,  "  Qu'est-ce 
que  le  Tiers  Etat,"  until  ten  years  later  he  was  dismissed  and  placed  in  the 



"  Dine  to-day  [December  30th]  with  the  Duchesse  d'Or- 
leans.  Take  tea  with  Madame  de  Chastellux  a'nd  then  go 
to  Madame  d'Houdetot's.  Her  lover,  M.  de  St.  Lambert, 
is  here.  Conversation  is  sensible  and  agreeable  enough, 
but  I  think  I  shall  not  go  often.  Of  all  Cupid's  maga 
zines  the  least  valuable,  in  my  opinion,  is  his  cabinet  of 
antiquities.  Have  a  conversation  with  M.  de  Montmorin 
and  chat  a  while  with  the  ladies,  and,  observing  some  al 
manacs  on  the  chimney-piece,  I  take  out  my  pencil  and 
address  a  few  lines  to  Madame  de  Beaumont,  his  daugh 
ter  : 

How  days  and  months  and  years  succeed, 

Clara,  you  here  behold  ; 
But  while  you  look  on  this,  take  heed, 

Both  you  and  I  grow  old. 

Those  days  which  come,  the  past  destroy, 

Do  not  too  long  delay  ; 
For  every  hour,  not  spent  in  joy, 

Is  so  much  thrown  away. 

She  is  more  pleased  with  this  than  she  expresses,  for  the 
moral  is  rather  to  be  adopted  than  approved.  Go  hence 
to  a  party  at  Madame  de  Vannoise's.  The  intention,  I  find, 
is  to  hear  the  harmonica  and  drink  punch.  I  am  requested 
to  mix  that  liquor  and,  in  order  that  my  glasses  may  pro 
duce  equal  music  with  those  of  the  performer,  I  make  it 
very  strong.  Madame  de  Laborde  comes  and  sits  next  to 
me,  with  M.  Bonnet.  I  repeat  to  her  the  lines  I  had  writ 
ten  for  Madame  de  Beaumont.  She,  of  course,  objects  to 
the  liberality  of  the  sentiment,  and  M.  Bonnet,  who  is  to 
judge  and  can  understand  English  only  by  the  eye,  though 

hands  of  Bonaparte.  The  constitution  he  drew  for  France  was  conceived 
with  a  view  of  transforming  the  popular  beliefs  and  principles  ;  beginning  a 
new  order  of  things,  not  working  to  perfect  the  old.  He  was  of  bourgeois 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  259 

he  has  translated  'Tristram  Shandy,'  gives  me  his  pencil 
and  a  piece  of  paper.  I  address  to  her  a  demonstration 
of  my  theme  instead  of  copying  what  I  had  written  : 

You  find  my  morals  somewhat  free, 

But  why  enthral  the  mind  ? 
The  truest  doctrine,  trust  to  me, 

Is  nature  unconfined. 

What  she  commands  let  us  obey, 

Nor  strive  to  be  too  pure  ; 
All  human  maxims  lead  astray 

And  only  hers  are  sure. 

I  do  not  not  know  whether  this  is  exact,  but  it  is  con 
venient,  and  will,  I  know,  be  more  strictly  followed  by 
those  who  condemn  it  than  by  the  author.  A  reputation 
either  good  or  bad  as  to  morals  is  easily  acquired.  To 
judge  a  man  by  his  actions  requires  a  degree  of  attention 
which  few  have  a  right  to  expect,  and  few  are  willing  to 
pay.  It  is  much  more  convenient  to  judge  from  the  con 
versation  than  from  the  conduct. 

"  At  the  club  to-day  we  have  a  strange  story  of  a 
sentinel  stabbed,  and  the  instruments  left  behind  in 
scribed,  'Va-t'en  attendre  Fayette.'  I  profess,  as  usual, 
my  disbelief.  Go  to  the  Louvre.  The  Due  de  Biron, 
1'Eveque  d'Autun,  and  M.  de  St.  Foi,  who  dined  here, 
are  still  with  Madame,  who  is  dressing  to  go  to  the 
Comedie.  I  am  vexed  at  this.  The  Bishop  and  M.  de  St. 
Foi  retire  to  a  consultation,  which  is,  I  suppose,  about  his 
letter  to  the  Conrrier  de  r Europe  ;  when  that  is  finished,  I 
tell  the  Bishop  what  Lafayette  had  desired  me  to  com 
municate.  I  add  that  I  did  not  mention  the  archbishopric 
because  Madame  desired  me  not,  but  more  because,  not 
withstanding  the  fair  opportunity,  I  persisted  in  the  opin 
ion  transmitted  by  her,  for  which  I  had  not,  however,  given 


to  her  the  reasons  ;  that  I  think  he  should  speak  first  him 
self,  because  he  is  of  too  elevated  a  rank  to  deal  by  an  in 
termediary  ;  if  he  were  of  an  inferior  grade,  I  would  ask 
for  him.  He  approves  of  this.  Madame  asks  me  to  go  to 
the  play,  which  I  refuse,  and  to  Madame  de  Laborde's, 
which  I  decline  ;  I  offer,  however,  to  set  her  down  at  the 
play-house,  which  she  accepts  of.  Go  to  Madame  de 
Chastellux's.  M.  de  Brabancon  comes  in,  to  whom  I 
communicate  an  idea  which  has  occurred  to  my  mind  of 
forming  a  settlement  upon  the  banks  of  the  River  St. 
Lawrence.  He  seems  pleased  with  it,  and  will  speak  to 
the  persons  of  his  acquaintance  who  want  to  go  out  to 

"  Goto  Madame  de  Laborde's  to  supper  [December  3  ist]. 
Madame  d'Houdetot  tells  me  that  she  dined  at  M.  Necker's. 
I  find  that  his  family  are  much  hurt  at  a  refusal  of  the 
Assemblee  to  accept  a  gift  proffered  from  Geneva,  which  is 
considered  as  a  slight  to  M.  Necker.  She  tells  me  that  the 
Abbe  Rayneval  has  addressed  an  excellent  letter  to  the 
Assemblee.  I  suppose  from  hence  that  it  is  a  criticism  upon 
their  conduct,  which  will  not,  I  think,  do  them  much 

"  This  morning  two  persons  come  to  see  me  who 
are  determined  to  go  out  to  America,  and  to  purchase 
there  my  Raritan  trust.  I  am  to  write  a  letter  for  them 
to  New  York.  A  person  calls  to  obtain  information 
about  America,  which  I  give,  and  also  advice.  Write,  and 
then  go  to  dine  with  M.  Millet.  After  dinner  one  of  the 
King's  pages  comes  in,  who  is  to  begin  his  tour  of  duty 
to-morrow.  He  tells  us  of  the  wonderful  sagacity,  under 
standing,  and  instruction  of  the  King,  his  virtues,  etc.  He 
must  be  very  confident,  I  think,  of  the  credulity  of  his  au 
dience.  M.  de  Moustier,  who  had  spoken  very  favorably 
of  him  to  me,  and  particularly  as  being  an  honest  man, 

1789.]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  26 1 

looks  somewhat  ashamed.  A  good  deal  of  company  at  the 
Louvre.  At  midnight  the  gentlemen  kiss  the  ladies  ;  I  do 
not  attempt  this  operation,  because  there  is  some  resist 
ance,  and  I  like  only  the  yielding  kiss  and  that  from  lips 
I  love." 

Many  people  in  Paris  were  already  looking  toward 
America  as  offering  more  safety  if  not  comfort  than  any 
place  nearer  home,  in  the  general  upheaval  of  society 
that  they  felt  was  surely  coming  ;  and  much  of  Morris's 
time  was  occupied  in  giving  advice  and  assistance  to  the 
emigrants.  Several  colonization  schemes  had  already 
been  set  on  foot  in  Paris  by  Americans  anxious  to  get  rid 
of  their  unproductive  lands.  One  of  the  most  shameful  and 
cruel  of  these  projects  was  the  famous  Scioto  enterprise, 
and  the  founding  of  Gallipolis  on  the  Ohio.  Joel  Barlow 
and  Duer  were  among  the  men  who  furthered  the  emi 
gration  of  hundreds  of  unfortunate  families,  lured  to  de 
struction  by  pictures  of  a  salubrious  climate  and  fertile 
soil.  Morris,  who  was  entirely  convinced  of  the  rot 
tenness  of  the  Scioto  Company,  cautioned  and  tried  to 
protect  the  unwary  Frenchmen  from  too  hastily  rushing 
into  the  forests  of  America. 



Comparison  between  the  newspaper  of  1777  and  1789.  New  Year's  salu 
tations.  Scene  at  the  Chatelet.  Madame  de  Flahaut's  boudoir. 
Stoppage  of  pensions.  Lively  discussion  thereon  in  Madame  de 
StaeTs  salon.  Visit  to  the  Comte  de  Chaste! lux.  Message  from  the 
Parlement  of  Brittany.  Morris  examines  table  -  ornaments  for 
Washington.  Decree  in  the  Assembly  concerning  office-holding. 
Adherence  to  the  constitution  required.  Riot  in  Paris.  A  handsome 
surtout  for  the  table  sent  to  Washington.  Need  of  cultivating  the 
taste  of  America.  The  Duchess  of  Orleans  obliged  to  economize. 
The  Cardinal  de  Rohan.  The  Bishop  of  Orleans.  Marmontel. 
Letter  to  Washington.  Morris  writes  a  note  on  the  situation  of 
affairs  for  the  king.  Delivered  to  the  queen  by  her  physician.  Anec 
dote  of  the  king.  He  goes  to  the  Assembly.  Conversation  with 

NOT  the  least  important  of  the  stirring  events  of  the 
year  just  closed  (1789)  was  the  sudden  development 
of  the  great  and  far-reaching  power  of  journalism.  Al 
ready  Marat,  Camille  Desmoulins,  Loustalot,  and  the 
principal  journalists  of  the  Revolution,  had  forced  them 
selves  before  the  public  ;  and  the  genius  of  the  Revolu 
tion  had  spoken  through  their  medium  with  telling  effect. 
There  is  a  striking  comparison  between  the  first  daily 
paper  which  was  published  in  Paris  in  1777,  with  its  arti 
cle  on  the  "  Almanac  of  the  Muses,"  its  letter  describing 
some  "  Vagary  of  Voltaire's,"  "  Two  Facts,"  and  a  "Witty 
Thing,"  and  the  violent  organs  of  the  Girondin  party,  or 
the  power  wielded  by  the  pen  of  Camille  Desmoulins, 
while  the  Revolution  was  in  full  swing.  And  now  was 
instituted  what  might  almost  be  called  the  cult  of  the 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  263 

Lantern,  for  which  someone  wrote  a  sacrilegious  litany 
supplicating  it  to  avenge  the  wrongs  of  France  and  have 
pity  on  the  people,  with  the  refrain,  "  Effroi  des  aristo 
crats,  vengez-nous."  The  street  lamp  only  came  into  gen 
eral  use  in  Paris  during  the  reign  of  Louis  XIV.  Before 
his  time,  for  many  years,  the  Parisians  had  been  in  the 
habit  of  setting  a  lamp  in  a  conspicuous  window  during 
times  of  danger  ;  but  under  Louis  XIV.  the  lantern  in  the 
streets  became  an  object  of  great  admiration.  The  first 
and  most  interesting  lantern  of  Paris  hung  on  a  house 
opposite  the  Hotel  de  Ville  below  a  bust  of  the  Grand 
Monarque,  and  during  the  reign  of  Louis  XVI.  this  iron 
branch  came  to  be  at  once  interesting  and  terrifying  to 
the  aristocrats.  The  year  1790  was  more  or  less  quietly 
ushered  in  at  the  capital,  but  throughout  France  cha 
teaux  were  burned,  their  owners  cruelly  outraged  and 
banished,  a  vast  amount  of  property  of  all  kinds  des 
troyed,  and  terror  and  confusion  reigned  supreme. 

"The  first  day  of  the  year,"  Morris  says,  "some 
friends  call  and  give  me  the  salutations  of  the  season,  and 
I  go  [January  ist]  round  and  pay  sundry  visits  of  the  sea 
son,  among  others  at  the  Chatelet  to  the  Baron  Besenval. 
He  is  a  little  vexed  at  finding  new  delays  in  his  trial.  He 
receives  a  visit  from  the  dames  de  la  Halle,  who  in  very 
bad  French,  though  Parisians,  make  him  their  sincere 
compliments,  promise  friendship  and  assistance,  which  are 
not  to  be  despised.  He  of  course  treats  them  all  with 
respect,  and  Mesdames  d'Oudenarde  and  La  Caze  stimu 
late  them  to  acts  of  violence.  This  is  truly  characteristic 
of  wrathful  women.  I  go  to  M.  de  Lafayette's.  A  long 
time  before  the  company  assemble.  Dine  at  half-past 
four.  He  tells  me  that  Monsieur  and  Mirabeau  are  closely 
allied,  that  one  is  a  weak  and  indolent  creature,  the  other 
an  active  and  artful  rascal.  I  tell  him  that  they  must  fin- 


ish  the  trial  of  Besenval  because  the  people  begin  to  take 
his  part,  and  that  of  course  a  violent  torrent  may  be  turned 
against  his  prosecutors  ;  this  affects  him.  To  my  sur 
prise  he  tells  me  that,  notwithstanding  my  criticisms  on 
the  Assemblee,  I  must  acknowledge  that  their  constitution 
is  better  than  that  of  England.  I  assure  him  that  he  is 
much  mistaken  if  he  imagines  that  to  be  my  opinion. 
Visit  Madame  de  Stael,  who  expresses  very  kindly  her 
apprehension  that  I  had  forgotten  her  ;  stay  till  half-past 
ten,  and  go  to  the  Louvre,  where  the  Bishop  d'Autun  is 
waiting  for  me.  Explain  to  him  a  plan  which  I  had  com 
municated  to  Madame  for  purchasing  facilities  in  America 
and  in  which  she  is  to  be  interested.  He  tells  me  that,  if 
the  advantage  is  great  and  the  operation  solid,  he  thinks 
he  can  obtain  two  millions.  I  tell  him  that  I  wish  to  con 
fine  the  object  to  one  million.  We  are  to  talk  further. 
He  observes  on  what  I  say  that  the  American  debt  would 
furnish  a  good  speculation.  I  tell  him  that  I  am  already 
engaged  in  it ;  that  it  is  so  large  an  object  that  the  junc 
tion  of  many  capitalists  became  necessary.  Madame  be 
ing  ill,  I  find  her  with  her  feet  in  warm  water,  and  when 
she  is  about  to  take  them  out,  one  of  her  women  being 
employed  in  that  operation,  the  Bishop  employs  himself 
in  warming  her  bed  with  a  warming-pan,  and  I  look  on. 
It  is  curious  enough  to  see  a  reverend  father  of  the  church 
engaged  in  this  pious  operation." 

"  Go  to  the  club  [January  4th].  The  National  Assembly 
have  stopped  the  pensions,  giving  only  3,ooof.  for  arrear 
ages  to  the  first  instant.  The  list  is  to  be  examined  be 
tween  this  and  the  ist  of  July  next,  for  the  purpose  of 
reformation,  and  absentees  are  to  receive  nothing  until 
their  return.  Go  to  Madame  de  StaeTs,  where  this  mat 
ter  is  discussed  pretty  much  at  large.  I  tell  them  that 
when  privileges  were  abolished  the  road  was  opened  for 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  265 

the  destruction  of  all  property.  This  gives  rise  to  an  end 
less  dispute,  in  which  she  shows  much  genius  and  little 
good  breeding.  The  opinions  are  various,  but  they  will 
all  be  alike.  I  threw  out  the  idea  on  purpose  to  make  an 
impression  on  some  who  have,  I  know,  styled  me  aristo 
crat,  etc.,  because  I  do  not  approve  of  their  sentiments. 

"  I  find  Madame  de  Flahaut  au  desespoir  about  the  re 
duction  of  the  pensions,  but  she  has  very  little  reason.  I 
convince  her  of  this,  or,  rather,  she  was  already  convinced 
of  it,  but  says  she  will  cry  very  loud.  Her  servants  this 
morning  have  waited  on  her,  with  the  assurance  that  they 
will,  if  necessary,  live  on  bread  and  water  for  the  next  six 
months.  The  Bishop  d'Autun  comes  in.  She  had  told 
me,  before  his  arrival,  that  Monsieur  has  written  a  letter 
to  the  King  demanding  a  seat  in  council.  It  is  in  concert 
with  the  Bishop  and  the  Due  de  Livi.  The  Bishop  says 
that  the  dfrret  respecting  the  pensions  would  not  have 
taken  effect  but  for  the  Abbe  de  Montesquiou.  Dine  with 
M.  de  Montmorin.  The  pensions  are  of  course  the  subject 
of  conversation.  I  treat  the  de'cret  as  a  violation  of  the 
laws  of  property.  It  seems  to  be  so  considered,  but  not 
in  a  light  so  extensive  as  that  in  which  I  place  it.  Draw 
a  parallel  between  this  and  the  compensation  given  by 
Great  Britain  to  the  American  Loyalists.  The  absence 
of  many  members  who  had  gone  to  dinner  is  considered 
here  the  cause  of  the  decree.  At  parting,  M.  de  Mont 
morin  asks  me  how  my  plan  goes  on.  I  tell  him  that  I 
expect  to  be  joined  by  the  Hollanders,  for  that  three  per 
sons  who  are  here  are  agreed,  and  one  of  them  goes  this 
afternoon  to  Amsterdam  to  bring  in  his  associates.  He  is 
very  glad  to  hear  this.  See  Madame  de  Chastellux,  who 
tells  me  that  she  has  seen  M.  de  Lafayette  ;  that  Favras 
will  be  hanged  ;  that  Monsieur  was  certainly  in  the  plot ; 
that  he  is  guided  by  Mirabeau.  As  M.  de  Lafayette  makes 


the  world  his  confidant,  the  secret  must  of  course  be  kept, 
for  it  cannot  go  farther.  But  the  consequence  to  him  must 
be  perpetual  enmity  from  Monsieur,  the  brother  of  the 
King,  who  in  all  cases  must  be  doing  mischief,  even  if  he 
has  not  ability  to  do  good.  The  Marechal  de  Segur  comes 
in.  We  have  some  conversation  about  the  pensions,  and 
my  sentiments  accord  well  with  his." 

"  Go  to  M.  de  Moustier's  to  dinner  [January  yth].  The 
Comte  de  Croix,  the  Prince  de  Broglio,  and  Clermont- 
Tonnerre  are  our  party.  The  last  two  are  greatly  violent 
against  the  Assemblee,  to  which  they  belong,  but  the 
Comte  de  Croix  has  a  little  of  the  obstination  flandraise, 
and  continues  firm  to  the  edicts,  many  of  which  he  op 

"  Dress,  and  dine  to-day  [January  8th]  with  the  Duchess 
of  Orleans.  She  has  changed,  I  think  for  the  better,  in 
her  maitre  d'  hotel.  After  dinner  visit  the  Comte  de  Chas- 
tellux  and  his  lady — in  a  pavilion  of  the  Louvre,  in  the 
garret,  near  one  hundred  and  sixty  steps  from  the  earth, 
in  little  cabins,  and  stinking  most  odiously  from  the  col 
lected  treasures  of  ages.  Madame  shows  me  a  box  pre 
sented  by  her  Princess,  who  had  sent  a  painter  on  purpose 
to  the  Castle  of  Chastellux  to  take  the  different  views. 
It  is  a  situation  in  the  mountainous  part  of  Burgundy, 
near  a  small,  clear  river,  abounding  in  trout.  The  Count 
and  his  lady  are  a  domestic  couple.  How  happy  might 
they  be  to  breathe  the  air  of  their  own  chateau,  if  it 
were  possible  for  mortals  to  know  what  constitutes  their 
own  felicity.  Madame  de  Segur  is  here,  and  the  Marechal. 
The  Duchess  comes  in.  I  make  her  a  dish  of  tea.  She 
makes  use  of  many  obliging  expressions,  the  reason  of 
which  I  cannot  conjecture,  but  incline  to  think  that  they 
result  from  inattention.  We  shall  see.  After  she  is  gone, 
the  Chevalier  de  Graave  reads  us  the  speech  made  this 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  26/ 

day  by  the  Parlement  of  Brittany  to  the  Assemblee.  It 
is  written  with  great  force  and  precision,  and  shows  that 
they  are  confident  of  being  supported  by  the  province." 

"  Dine  to-day  [January  zoth]  with  M.  de  Lafayette. 
After  dinner  he  asks  me  how  they  are  to  provide  for  the 
case  of  disobedience  in  the  provincial  and  district  adminis 
trations,  which  are  submitted  to  the  orders  of  the  King,  but, 
being  elected,  may  not  respect  those  orders.  I  tell  him  that 
no  provision  can  be  made  ;  that  it  is  an  institution  radi 
cally  wrong,  and  they  cannot  alter  it,  because  they  have 
said  so  much  to  the  people  about  liberty  ;  that  they  must 
of  necessity  leave  the  correction  of  this  and  many  other 
defects  to  time  and  experience,  happy  if  the  changes 
induced  by  the  latter  should  not  bring  back  an  authority 
too  severe.  He  does  not  like  this  sentiment.  I  suppose 
they  will  find  out  some  expedient,  but  certainly  nothing 
effectual.  Go  from  hence  to  the  Louvre.  Madame  de 
Flahaut  is  distressed.  She  has  been  in  tears  all  day.  Af 
ter  much  entreaty  she  tells  me  the  cause.  Her  pensions 
from  Monsieur  and  from  the  Comte  d'Artois  are  stopped  ; 
on  that  from  the  King  she  receives  but  3,000!,  and  must 
therefore  leave  Paris.  I  try  to  console  her,  but  it  is  im 
possible.  Indeed,  the  stroke  is  severe,  for  with  youth, 
beauty,  wit,  and  every  loveliness,  she  must  quit  all  that 
she  loves,  to  pass  her  life  with  what  she  most  abhors.  Go 
from  hence  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  Short  is  here.  I 
repeat,  in  conversation  about  the  Parlement  of  Brittany, 
what  in  his  presence  I  observed  to  Lafayette  ;  viz.,  that  the 
Assemblee  must  deal  very  delicately  with  the  Bas-Bretons. 
But  he  repeats  Lafayette's  answer  ;  viz.,  that  nine-tenths 
of  the  province  are  with  the  Assemblee.  I  doubt  this  intel 
ligence,  because  the  address  of  the  Parlement  is  in  a  style 
of  calm  firmness  which  shows  a  conviction  of  support,  and 
their  position  in  the  neighborhood  of  Britain  is  critical. 


"This  morning  [January  nth]  I  go  to  the  Porcelaine 
to  see  a  kind  of  ornament  cemented  on  glass,  being  birds 
formed  with  their  feathers  and  other  natural  objects  in  the 
same  way  ;  of  course,  the  representation  is  more  just  than 
painting.  The  maker  is  here,  and  we  inquire  the  price  of 
a  surtout  (epergne)  *  for  a  table  ten  feet  long  and  two  feet 
wide.  It  is  2,ooof.,  and  cannot  be  finished  before  October 
next.  Go  to  the  Luxembourg,  to  dine  with  Count  Louis 
de  Narbonne.  A  very  good  dinner,  and  very  good  wines  ; 

the  Comte  d'Afry,  the  Due  de ,  the  Chevalier  de 

Narbonne,  Madame  de  Vintimille,  and  Madame  Fronsac. 
This  last  I  had  seen  at  M.  de  Montmorin's.  She  appears  to 
have  a  great  deal  of  the  free  and  easy  about  her ;  whether 
it  is  the  result  of  a  virtue  out  of  all  reach,  or  of  an  indif 
ference  about  appearances,  is  to  be  examined.  She  is  not 
unhandsome,  and  plays  well  on  the  harpsichord.  M.  de 
Bonnet,  who  was  to  have  dined  here,  comes  in  late  from 
the  Assemblee.  They  have  passed  a  decree  by  which  the 
members  of  the  Chambre  des  Vacations  are  rendered  inca 
pable  of  holding  any  office,  or  of  electing  or  being  elected, 
until  they  shall  announce  to  the  Assembly  their  adherence 
to  the  constitution.  This  is  strong,  but  the  Count  de 
Mirabeau  was  of  opinion  that  they  should  be  sent  to  the 
Chatelet  and  tried  for  Use-nation. 

"  Go  from  hence  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  Madame 
de  Segur  and  the  Marechal  and  the  Count  come  in.  Con 
versation  is  about  the  decree  of  the  day,  and  so  it  is  at 
Madame  de  StaeTs.  I  contend  that  this  decree  is  void,  ac 
cording  to  the  principles  of  the  Assemblee  themselves,  who 
have  declared  their  incompetency  to  act  in  a  judicial  ca 
pacity.  This  induces  a  long  dispute,  in  which  I  take  a 
greater  part  than  the  thing  is  worth,  but  the  society  here 

*  Washington  had  intrusted  to  Morris  an  order  for  the  purchase  of  table- 
ornaments  to  be  used  at  his  state  dinners  at  Philadelphia. 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  269 

has  that  tournure,  and  one  must  conform  to  or  abandon  it. 
The  latter,  perhaps,  is  the  wiser  course/' 

"  After  dinner  [January  i3th]  go  to  the  Louvre,  and 
find  Madame  de  Flahaut  in  deep  distress  at  the  idea  of 
leaving  Paris.  She  cannot  go  with  me  to  look  for  a  sur- 
tout  and  ornaments,  having  affairs.  The  Bishop  arrives. 
He  has  had  me  elected  into  a  society  here  which  as  yet  I 
do  not  exactly  know  the  meaning  of  ;  it  is,  however,  a  se 
lect  one.  He  expects  to  get  a  million  for  the  speculation 
proposed  to  Madame.  He  tells  me  that  the  members  of  the 
Breton  Parlement  come  hither  voluntarily,  because  they 
apprehended  force  from  the  Commons  of  Rennes.  This 
is  extraordinary,  for  Rennes  subsists  only  from  the  pres 
ence  of  the  Parlement.  There  has  been  a  riot  this  day  in 
Paris,  and  a  number  of  the  militaires  engaged  in  the  squab 
ble  have  been  taken  prisoners.  The  matter  is  not  gener 
ally  understood,  but  all  agree  that  Lafayette  has  acted 
with  great  prudence  and  decision." 

"  See  Madame  de  Flahaut  this  morning  [January  i4th]. 
She  tells  me  that  next  week  the  Caisse  d'Escompte  will  stop 
payment  in  coin  altogether.  At  Madame  de  Chastellux's 
the  Duchess  reproaches  me  with  neglecting  her  while  she 
was  ill  the  last  three  days,  to  which  I  reply  that  if  I  could 
have  been  useful  to  her  I  should  certainly  have  shown  my 
attention.  I  call  for  Madame  de  Flahaut  and  we  go  to 
look  for  a  surtout  ;  afterwards  go  to  the  manufactory  of 
Angouleme.  We  agree  that  the  porcelaine  here  is  hand 
somer  and  cheaper  than  that  of  Sevres.  I  think  I  shall 
purchase  for  General  Washington  here.  Madame  tells  me 
that  the  Comte  de  Segur  has  persuaded  Lafayette  to  place 
the  Bishop  in  the  finance.  He  told  him  that  he  disliked 
the  Bishop  as  much  as  M.  de  Lafayette,  but  that  they  had 
no  man  of  sufficient  abilities,  and  it  would  not  do  to  have 
the  abilities  of  the  Bishop  opposed  to  them.  Lafayette 


told  this  to  his  friend  Madame  de  Simieu,  she  to  Madame 

de  Coigny,  she  to  Madame  de ,  who  told  it  to  the  Due 

de  Biron,  and  he  told  it  to  Madame  de  Flahaut,  who  de 
sires  me  to  keep  up  this  apprehension  through  Madame 
de  Segur ;  but  I  shall  certainly  say  nothing  to  her  but  the 
truth,  nor  that,  unless  the  occasion  calls  for  it.  Her  hus 
band  is,  I  think,  wrong  in  pushing  so  hard  to  obtain  a 
place  in  the  administration.  But  time  must  determine  the 
propriety  of  this  judgment.  The  Duchess  arrives  late  at 
Madame  de  Chastellux's  to-night.  The  mother  of  the 
Bishop  d'Autun  is  here.  She  is  highly  aristocratic  ;  she 
says  that  the  great  of  this  country  who  have  favored  the 
Revolution  are  taken  in,  and  I  think  that  she  is  not  much 
mistaken  in  that  idea." 

A  surtout  of  seven  plateaus  and  the  ornaments  in  biscuit 
and  three  large  glass  covers  for  the  three  groups  were 
bought  and  sent  to  Washington.  When  sending  the 
pieces,  Morris  wrote  to  him  as  follows  :  "  In  all  there  are 
three  groups,  two  vases,  and  twelve  figures.  The  vases 
may  be  used  as  they  are,  or,  when  occasion  serves,  the  tops 
may  be  laid  aside  and  the  vases  filled  with  natural  flowers. 
When  the  whole  surtout  is  to  be  used  for  large  companies, 
the  large  group  will  be  in  the  middle,  the  two  smaller  ones 
at  the  two  ends,  the  vases  in  the  spaces  between  the  three, 
and  the  figures  distributed  along  the  edges,  or  rather  along 
the  sides.  .  .  .  To  clean  the  biscuit  warm  water  is  to 
be  used,  and  a  brush  such  as  is  used  for  painting  in  water- 
colors.  You  will  perhaps  exclaim  that  I  have  not  com 
plied  with  your  directions  as  to  economy,  but  you  will  be 
of  a  different  opinion  when  you  see  the  articles.  I  could 
have  sent  you  a  number  of  pretty  trifles  for  very  little 
prime  cost,  but  you  must  have  had  an  annual  supply,  and 
your  table  should  have  been  in  the  style  of  a  petite  mai- 
tresse  of  this  city.  ...  I  think  it  of  very  great  im- 


portance  to  fix  the  taste  of  our  country  properly,  and  I 
think  your  example  will  go  very  far  in  that  respect. 
It  is  therefore  my  wish  that  everything  about  you  should 
be  substantially  good  and  majestically  plain,  made  to  endure. 
.  .  .  By  the  bye,  you  must  be  thankful  that  I  did  not 
run  you  into  further  expense,  for  I  was  violently  tempted 
to  send  out  two  dozen  cups  and  saucers,  with  the  needful 
accompaniments,  to  Mrs.  Washington." 

"There  is  a  musical  party  at  Madame  Le  Coulteux's  to 
night  [January  i6th],  which  is  to  me  very  dull,  although 
the  singing  is  very  good.  De  Cantaleu  asks  me  with  a  sar 
castic  smile  how  the  Bishop  d'Autun  is.  I  tell  him  that 
he  is  by  no  means  eager  to  enter  into  the  administration 
at  present.  He  observes  that  at  present  a  minister  can  do 
nothing  ;  things  will  go  forward  in  their  own  way.  I  tell 
him  that  he  is  right  as  to  the  present  moment,  but  that 
ministers  might  have  directed  some  time  ago,  and  either 
everything  will  go  to  destruction  or  they  will  hereafter 
direct  the  machine  ;  that  even  now  it  is  important  to  in 
dividuals  to  be  apprised  of  their  intentions.  I  find  that 
M.  de  Cantaleu  has  all  the  self-importance  of  a  parvenu 
who  thinks  that  his  merit  has  obtained  what,  in  fact,  is  the 
price  of  his  attachment  to  the  ministers.  I  ask  Laurent  if 
nothing  can  be  made  out  of  the  assignats.  He  says  that 
until  five  or  six  months  are  passed,  and  their  value  a  little 
known,  it  will  be  impossible  to  judge  about  them." 

"Dine  at  Lafayette's  [January  lyth].  He  asks  what  I 
think  of  Ternant  as  Minister  to  America.  Tell  him  that  I 
approve.  Hence  I  conclude  that  he  intends  the  appoint 
ment  to  pass  in  my  opinion  as  of  his  making.  Very  well. 
After  dinner  Gouvernay  tells  me  that  Necker  is  much 
better,  but  makes  himself  worse  than  he  is,  by  way  of 
securing  a  retreat  which  he  meditates.  He  says  fur 
ther  that  a  chief  minister  is  necessary.  I  ask  him  who 


is  to  be  in  the  finances  ;  whether  the  Bishop  d'Autun. 
He  says  that  he  will  not  do  at  all ;  that  he  is  unequal 
to  the  business  ;  that  M.  Touret  for  the  Home  Depart 
ment,  and  M.  de  St.  Priest  for  the  Foreign  Affairs  will 
do  very  well,  but  there  are  no  other  men  sufficiently 
eminent.  I  ask  Madame  de  Lafayette,  who  comes  up  to 
us,  to  name  a  man.  She  cannot.  I  observe  that  I  hear 
the  Comte  de  Segur  is  in  pursuit  of  the  office  of  Foreign 
Affairs.  Gouvernay  and  she  join  in  declaring  that  he  is 
not  fit  for  it.  At  dinner  Lafayette  asked  me  what  they 
should  do  about  their  militia.  I  told  him,  nothing ;  for 
they  cannot  do  what  is  right,  and  therefore  had  better 
leave  it  in  such  situation  as  that  it  can  be  mended,  which 
would  not  be  the  case  if  fixed  by  the  constitution.  He 
says  that  he  and  others  are  determined  to  select  particular 
articles  in  the  constitution  as  it  now  stands,  and  form  of 
them  a  constitution  properly  so  called,  leaving  the  rest  to 
the  mercy  of  the  legislature.  This  I  approve  of,  but  yet 
much  will  depend  on  the  selection.  I  advise  that  they 
should,  in  respect  to  their  bill  of  rights,  imitate  the  masons, 
who  knock  down  the  scaffolding  when  they  have  finished 
the  house.  Go  to  the  Louvre  and  give  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut  such  information  as  relates  to  her  friend  ;  but  he  has 
too  good  an  opinion  of  his  own  opinion  to  make  a  good 
Minister  of  Finance.  In  the  different  societies  everybody 
seems  to  agree  that  things  go  badly,  and  they  speak  with 
despondence  ;  but,  in  fact,  nothing  good  could  result  from 
the  measures  of  Government,  which  have  been  so  very  ill 

"  Dine  to-day  [January  Tpth]  at  the  Palais  Royal.*     The 

*  The  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Orleans  had  lived  happily  until  1789,  when  Ma 
dame  de  Genlis  came  between  them,  and  the  management  of  the  children  was 
given  to  her.  The  first  open  quarrel  they  had  was  when  the  duchess  refused 
to  accompany  the  duke  on  his  mission  to  England,  but  she  was  subse 
quently  reconciled  to  him.  About  this  time  a  separation  had  taken  place  be- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  273 

Duchess  tells  me  that  the  Duke's  treasurer  does  not  pay 
as  he  ought  to  do,  monthly,  and  that  unless  this  is  done 
she  will  not  adhere  to  the  contract.  She  receives  now 
450,000!  per  annum,  of  which  350,0001.  are  appropriated  to 
the  house,  servants,  table,  etc.  ;  near  15,000  louis.  Cer 
tainly  a  great  economy  might  be  made  upon  this  article. 
After  dinner  go  to  the  Louvre.  The  Cardinal  de  Rohan 
is  there.  Accidentally  he  mentions  his  prods,  and,  after 
relating  the  circumstances  which  brought  it  to  his  mind, 
he  declares  that  he  thinks  it  a  weakness  to  talk  of  it ;  and 
he  is  right.  He  has  plus  de  grace  que  (Tesprit.  But  he 
speaks  in  too  good  style  to  write  in  a  style  as  bad  as  Ma 
dame  de  la  Motte  has  attributed  to  him.  A  new  piece  at 
the  Comedie  to-night  much  applauded,  but  a  very  bad  one. 
It  is,  however,  la  mode.  The  object  is  to  ridicule,  or  rather 
to  preach  against,  the  prejudices  entertained  against  the 
family  and  connections  of  a  man  who  is  hanged.  A  '  Lor 
Anglais '  is  the  preacher,  who  takes  from  the  book  of  Eng 
land  a  text  which  is  not  to  be  found  in  it,  and,  with  the 
aid  of  antitheses  and  other  such  figures,  gives  the  audi 
ence  much  satisfaction,  which  is  greatly  increased  by  the 

tween  them,  and  a  lawsuit  had  been  commenced  to  obtain  the  repayment  of 
her  dowry.  This  demand,  in  the  shattered  condition  of  the  duke's  finances, 
meant  ruin.  At  length,  worn  out  with  worry,  the  duchess  quitted  her  hus 
band's  palace  on  the  twenty  second  anniversary  of  their  wedding-day,  April 
5,  1791,  and  sought  shelter  with  her  father,  the  Due  de  Penthievre.  Later  the 
Princesse  de  Lamballe  undertook  to  reconcile  the  duke  and  duchess,  and  the 
duke  offered  to  restore  the  dowry,  provided  the  duchess  would  settle  an  annu 
ity  of  one  hundred  thousand  livres  on  each  of  her  children,  entirely  independ 
ent  of  both  parents.  The  duchess  rejected  these  terms,  but  offered  to  be  re 
sponsible  for  the  entire  support  of  the  Comte  de  Beaujolais  and  Mademoiselle 
d'Orleans,  they  to  be  immediately  confided  to  her  care.  Scarcely  was  this 
proposal  made  than  Mademoiselle  d'Orleans  was  sent  with  Madame  de  Genlis 
to  England,  and  the  duchess  did  not  see  her  again  for  ten  years.  A  suit 
was  brought  against  the  duke  in  October,  1791,  which  was  continued  even  when 
the  husband  and  wife  were  separated  by  many  leagues,  and  the  decree  of 
final  separation  was  pronounced,  in  November,  1792,  only  a  few  weeks  before 
the  duke  lost  his  head. 


judicious  ranting  of  the  actors — judicious,  because  a  nat 
ural  action  would  disclose  the  defects  of  the  piece,  now 
concealed  by  the  roaring." 

"While  Count  Dillon  and  I  are  walking  in  the  Champs 
Elysees  to-day  [January  2ist],  the  report  of  a  pistol  is 
heard,  which  Dillon  considers  some  duel,  for  of  late  there 
is  a  great  deal  of  that  kind  of  work  going  forward.  I 
laugh  at  the  idea,  but  presently  we  see  a  man  led  along 
by  a  party  of  soldiers  ;  making  up  to  them  we  learn  that  he 
just  now  shot  himself,  but  he  took  bad  aim,  so  that  the  ball, 
which  entered  in  at  his  forehead,  came  out  at  the  top  of 
his  head.  The  soldier  says  he  does  not  know  who  the  man 
is,  and  that  when  a  man  has  lost  his  all,  without  any  fault  of 
his  own,  the  best  thing  he  can  do  is  to  shoot  himself.  Go 
hence  to  the  Louvre,  and  stay  but  a  few  minutes  ;  M.  le 
Vicomte  de  St.  Priest  is  here.  Dine  with  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans.  The  Bishop  of  Orleans  is  here.  This  Bishop 
seems  to  be  of  that  kind  whose  sincerest  prayer  is  for  the 
fruit  of  good  living,  and,  to  judge  by  his  manner  of  talk 
ing,  one  would  suppose  that  he  deems  it  of  more  impor 
tance  to  speak  than  to  speak  truth.  Go  to  the  Louvre. 
Immediately  after  my  arrival  the  Bishop  comes  in,  who 
seems  not  at  all  content  to  find  me  here.  His  expecta 
tions  of  procuring  a  million  prove  abortive.  The  party 
tells  him  that  he  thinks  the  affair  excellent,  but  as  they 
must  soon  have  paper  money  in  France  he  must  collect 
his  funds  to  take  advantage  of  that  event,  by  which  he 
will  gain  greatly.  The  Bishop  goes  away,  and  Madame 
gives  me  a  plan  of  finance  to  read  which  is  prepared  by 
M.  de  St.  Foi  for  the  Bishop  and  on  which  she  asks  my 
opinion.  I  tell  her  that  nothing  more  is  necessary  to  ruin 
him  entirely.  In  effect,  it  is  a  scheme  for  i,ooo,ooo,ooof. 
in  paper  money  redeemable  in  twenty  years,  at  the  rate  of 
50,000,0001.  per  annum  ;  the  sum  redeemed  to  be  deter- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  2/5 

mined  by  lottery  every  six  months,  and  then  25,ooo,ooof. 
to  be  paid,  and  on  that,  premiums  of  twenty  per  cent,  or 
five  millions,  and  to  effectuate  this,  a  tax  of  sixty  millions 
to  be  laid.  This  plan,  then,  is  to  borrow  at  an  interest  of 
ten  millions  per  thousand  millions,  or  one  per  cent.  The 
author  is  clear  that  the  paper,  instead  of  depreciating,  will 
be  above  par,  but  the  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  million 
loan  which  forms  the  standard  for  the  price  of  stocks  here 
and  which  bears  near  seven  per  cent,  interest,  premiums 
included,  sells  at  a  discount  of  above  ten  per  cent.  I 
show  her  a  few  of  the  many  fatal  consequences  which 
would  attend  the  adoption." 

"Walk  in  the  gardens  of  the  Tuileries  [January  22d] 
with  Madame  de  Flahaut  and  M.  de  St.  Pardou,  and  then 
dine  with  the  Comte  de  Montmorin.  M.  de  Marmontel* 
is  here.  After  dinner  I  speak  to  the  Count  about  the 
commerce  with  their  islands.  He  says  he  hopes  something 
will  be  done  in  the  next  fifteen  days  ;  that  in  his  opinion  they 
ought  to  permit  a  much  freer  commerce  with  us  than  with 
any  other  nation,  because  that  the  state  of  their  colonies 
must  depend  on  us.  I  communicate  to  him,  in  the  most 
perfect  confidence,  the  commission  with  which  I  am 
charged  in  part.  I  tell  him  two  very  great  truths  :  that  a 
free  commerce  with  the  British  Islands  is  the  object 
which  will  chiefly  operate  on  us  to  give  us  the  desire  of  a 
treaty  of  commerce  with  Britain,  and  that  I  prefer  much  a 
close  connection  with  France.  He  tells  me  that  their 
great  misfortune  here  is  to  have  no  fixed  plan  nor  princi 
ple,  and  at  present  no  chief.  I  tell  him  that  they  ought 

*  Jean  Francois  Marmontel,  the  successor  to  D'Alembert  as  perpetual  sec 
retary  of  the  French  Academy,  a  writer  and  critic,  was  in  the  first  rank  of  the 
literature  of  the  eighteenth  century.  Full  of  resources  and  of  ideas,  he  ex 
pressed  himself  with  precision  and  force.  Through  the  epoch  of  the  Revo 
lution  his  course  was  dignified,  prudent,  and  at  the  same  time  generous. 
He  passed  those  stormy  years  in  retirement  in  the  country,  and  died  in  1799. 


to  go  to  war.  He  says  he  is  convinced  that  if  they  do  not 
soon  make  war,  it  will  soon  be  made  against  them.  But 
their  finances  !  I  tell  him  that  there  is  less  difficulty  in 
that  than  he  is  aware  of.  But  the  great  mischief  is  in  a 
constitution  without  energy.  We  join  the  company.  A 
good  deal  of  conversation  about  public  affairs,  in  which 
Marmontel  agrees  with  me  in  opinion.  I  had  an  oppor 
tunity  at  dinner  to  remark  on  the  varieties  in  taste.  A 
large  trout  was  received  from  the  Lake  of  Geneva,  and  it 
was  a  question  when  we  are  to  dine  off  it.  The  maitre 
d'hotel  was  interpellated  and  the  trout  was  produced — a 
very  large  one,  of  at  least  twenty  pounds  weight  and  per 
fectly  fresh,  having  been  brought  by  the  courier.  The 
maitre  d'hotel  says  it  must  be  kept  till  Wednesday,  '  pour 
etre  mortifie,'  and  as  that  day  does  not  suit  the  company, 
poor  Monsieur  Trout  must  e'en  mortify  two  days  longer. 
I  cannot  but  sympathize  in  his  afflictions." 

"  The  Vicomte  de  St.  Priest,  who  dines  at  the  Palais 
Royal  to-day  [January  25th]  and  sits  next  to  me,  mentions 
the  idea  of  the  King's  going  to  the  Assemblee  in  order  to 
put  himself  at  the  head  of  the  Revolution.  I  blame  this 
step  and  tell  him,  without  mincing  the  matter,  that  his  ad 
visers  to  that  step  give  him  un  conseil  ou  inepte  ou  perfide. 
Madame  de  Segur  differs  with  me,  and  after  dinner  her 
husband,  to  whom  she  mentioned  it,  also  tells  me  that  he 
holds  the  opposite  opinion  and  wishes  to  discuss  the  mat 
ter  with  me.  I  only  add  that  the  King  ought  to  send  the 
Comte  d'Artois  his  children,  so  that  the  whole  of  the  royal 
family  should  not  be  in  the  power  of  their  enemies,  and 
that  he  should  let  the  nation  do  as  they  please.  In  the 
course  of  things,  they  will  come  back  to  their  allegiance. 
The  occasion  does  not  suit  for  a  discussion  of  this  matter. 
Return  home  and  write.  At  nine  go  to  the  Louvre.  The 
Bishop  d'Autun  is  here.  Some  conversation  about  coin- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  277 

age,  in  which  he  is  not  quite  right,  but  I  find  that  he  has 
studied  the  matter.  I  remind  him  of  the  book  he  was  to 
lend  me.  Send  my  servant  home  with  him,  and  he  trans 
mits  it.  Tis  somewhat  droll  to  receive  the  '  Portier  des 
Chartreux'  from  the  hands  of  a  reverend  father  in  God." 

The  following  letter,  written  in  January,  to  Washington, 
gives  a  forcible  and  correct  picture  of  Paris,  and  of  France 
as  well.  "  Your  sentiments,"  he  wrote,  "on  the  Revolu 
tion  effecting  here  I  believe  to  be  perfectly  just,  be 
cause  they  perfectly  accord  with  my  own,  and  that  is,  you 
know,  the  only  standard  which  Heaven  has  given  us  by 
which  to  judge.  The  King  is  in  effect  a  prisoner  at  Paris, 
and  obeys  entirely  the  National  Assembly.  This  Assembly 
may  be  divided  into  three  parts.  One,  called  the  aristo 
crats,  consists  of  the  high  clergy,  the  members  of  the  law 
(not  lawyers),  and  such  of  the  nobility  as  think  they  ought 
to  form  a  separate  order  ;  another,  which  has  no  name, 
but  which  consists  of  all  sorts  of  people,  really  friends  to 
a  free  government.  The  third  is  composed  of  what  are 
called  here  the  enragJs,  that  is,  the  madmen.  These  are  the 
most  numerous,  and  are  of  that  class  which  in  America 
is  known  by  the  name  of  pettifogging  lawyers,  together 
with  a  host  of  curates,  and  many  of  those  who,  in  all  re 
volutions,  throng  to  the  standard  of  change  because  they 
are  not  well.  This  party,  in  close  alliance  with  the  popu 
lace,  derives  from  that  circumstance  very  great  authority. 
They  have  already  unhinged  everything.  .  .  .  The 
torrent  rushes  on,  irresistible  until  it  shall  have  wasted 

"  The  aristocrats  are  without  a  leader,  and  without  any 
plan  or  counsels  as  yet,  but  ready  to  throw  themselves 
into  the  arms  of  anyone  who  shall  offer.  The  middle 
party,  who  mean  well,  have  unfortunately  acquired  their 
ideas  of  government  from  books,  and  are  admirable  fel- 


lows  upon  paper  ;  but  as  it  happens,  somewhat  unfortu 
nately,  that  the  men  who  live  in  the  world  are  very  differ 
ent  from  those  who  dwell  in  the  heads  of  philosophers,  it 
is  not  to  be  wondered  at  if  the  systems  taken  out  of 
books  are  fit  for  nothing  but  to  be  put  into  books  again. 
Marraontel  is  the  only  man  I  have  met  with  among  their 
literati  who  seems  truly  to  understand  the  subject  ;  for 
the  rest,  they  discuss  nothing  in  the  Assembly.  One  large 
half  of  the  time  is  spent  in  hollowing  and  bawling — their 
manner  of  speaking.  Those  who  intend  to  speak  write 
their  names  on  a  tablet,  and  are  heard  in  the  order  that 
their  names  are  written  down,  if  the  others  will  hear  them, 
which  often  they  refuse  to  do,  keeping  up  a  continual  up 
roar  till  the  orator  leaves  the  pulpit.  Each  man  permit 
ted  to  speak  delivers  the  result  of  his  lucubrations,  so 
that  the  opposing  parties  fire  off  their  cartridges,  and 
it  is  a  million  to  one  if  their  missile  arguments  happen  to 
meet.  The  arguments  are  usually  printed  ;  therefore  there 
is  as  much  attention  paid  to  making  them  sound  and  look 
well,  as  to  convey  instruction  or  produce  conviction.  But 
there  is  another  ceremony  which  the  arguments  go  through, 
and  which  does  not  fail  to  affect  the  form,  at  least,  and 
perhaps  the  substance.  They  are  read  beforehand  in  a 
small  society  of  young  men  and  women,  and  generally  the 
fair  friend  of  the  speaker  is  one,  or  else  the  fair  whom  he 
means  to  make  his  friend,  and  the  society  very  politely 
give  their  approbation,  unless  the  lady  who  gives  the  tone 
to  that  circle  chances  to  reprehend  something,  which  is, 
of  course,  altered  if  not  amended.  Do  not  suppose  I  am 
playing  the  traveller.  I  have  assisted  at  some  of  these 
readings,  and  will  now  give  you  an  anecdote  from  one  of 
them.  I  was  at  Madame  de  StaeTs,  the  daughter  of  M. 
Necker.  She  is  a  woman  of  wonderful  wit,  and  above 
vulgar  prejudices  of  every  kind.  Her  house  is  a  kind  of 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  2/9 

Temple  of  Apollo,  where  the  men  of  wit  and  fashion  are 
collected  twice  a  week  at  supper,  and  once  at  dinner,  and 
sometimes  more  frequently.  The  Comte  de  Clermont- 
Tonnerre  (one  of  their  greatest  orators)  read  to  us  a  very 
pathetic  oration,  and  the  object  was  to  show  that,  as  pen 
alties  are  the  legal  compensation  for  injuries  and  crimes, 
the  man  who  is  hanged,  having  by  that  event  paid  his  debt 
to  society,  ought  not  to  be  held  in  dishonor  ;  and  in  like 
manner,  he  who  has  been  condemned  for  seven  years  to 
be  flogged  in  the  galleys  should,  when  he  had  served  out 
his  apprenticeship,  be  received  again  into  good  company 
as  if  nothing  had  happened.  You  smile  ;  but  observe  that 
the  extreme  to  which  the  matter  was  carried  the  other 
way,  dishonoring  thousands  for  the  guilt  of  one,  has  so 
shocked  the  public  sentiment  as  to  render  this  extreme 
fashionable.  The  oration  was  very  fine,  very  sentimental, 
very  pathetic,  and  the  style  harmonious.  Shouts  of  ap 
plause  and  full  approbation.  When  this  was  pretty  well 
over,  I  told  him  that  his  speech  was  extremely  eloquent, 
but  that  his  principles  were  not  very  solid.  Universal 
surprise.  A  few  remarks  changed  the  face  of  things. 
The  position  was  universally  condemned,  and  he  left  the 
room.  I  need  not  add  that  as  yet  it  has  never  been  de 
livered  in  the  Assembly,  and  yet  it  was  of  the  kind  which 
produces  a  decree  by  acclamation  ;  for  sometimes  an  ora 
tor  gets  up  in  the  midst  of  another  deliberation,  makes  a 
fine  discourse,  and  closes  with  a  good  snug  resolution, 
which  is  carried  with  a  huzza.  Thus,  in  considering  a 
plan  for  a  national  bank  proposed  by  M.  Necker,  one  of 
them  took  it  into  his  head  to  move  that  every  member 
should  give  his  silver  buckles,  which  was  agreed  to  at  once, 
and  the  honorable  member  laid  his  upon  the  table,  after 
which  the  business  went  on  again.  It  is  difficult  to  guess 
whereabouts  the  flock  will  settle  when  it  flies  so  wild,  but, 


as  far  as  it  is  possible  to  guess  at  present,  this  (late)  king 
dom  will  be  cast  into  a  congeries  of  little  democracies, 
not  laid  out  according  to  the  rivers  and  mountains,  but 
with  the  square  and.  compass,  according  to  latitude  and 
longitude  ;  and  as  the  provinces  had  anciently  different 
laws  (called  coutumes),  and  as  the  clippings  and  parings 
of  several  provinces  must  fall  together  within  some  of  the 
new  divisions,  I  think  such  fermenting  matter  must  give 
them  a  kind  of  political  colic. 

"  Their  Assemblee  Nationale  will  be  something  like  the 
old  Congress,  and  the  King  will  be  called  executive  magis 
trate.  As  yet  they  have  been  busily  engaged  in  pillaging 
the  present  occupant  of  his  authority.  How  much  they  will 
leave  him  will  depend  upon  the  chapter  of  accidents  ;  I  be 
lieve  it  will  be  very  little,  but,  little  or  much,  the  perspective 
of  such  a  king  and  such  an  assembly  brings  to  my  mind  a 
saying  which  Shakespeare  has  put  into  the  mouths  of  two 
old  soldiers  upon  hearing  that  Lepidus,  one  of  the  famous 
Triumvirate,  was  dead  :  '  So  the  poor  third  is  up.  World, 
thou  hast  a  pair  of  chaps  no  more  ;  and  throw  between 
them  all  the  food  thou  hast,  they'll  grind  the  one  the  other.' 
At  present  the  people  are  fully  determined  to  support  the 
Assembly,  and  although  there  are  some  discontents,  I  do 
not  believe  that  anything  very  serious  exists  in  the  style 
of  opposition.  Indeed,  it  would  be  wonderful  if  there 
should,  for  hitherto  an  extension  of  privileges  and  a  re 
mission  of  taxes  to  the  lower  class  has  marked  every  stage 
of  the  progress.  Besides,  the  love  of  novelty  is  a  great 
sweetener  in  revolutions.  But  the  time  will  come  when 
this  novelty  is  over,  and  all  its  charms  are  gone.  In  lieu 
of  the  taxes  remitted  other  taxes  must  be  laid,  for  the 
public  burden  must  be  borne.  The  elected  administrators 
must  then  either  indulge  their  electors,  which  will  be  ruin 
ous  to  the  fisc,  or,  in  urging  the  collection  of  taxes,  displease 


their  constituents.  In  all  probability  there  will  be  a  little 
of  both  ;  hence  must  arise  bickerings  and  heart-burnings 
among  the  different  districts,  and  a  great  languor  through 
out  the  kingdom,  as  the  revenue  must  fall  short  of  calcu 
lation  in  point  of  time,  if  not  in  amount  (and  that  is  the 
same  thing  where  revenue  is  concerned).  It  will  follow 
that  either  the  interest  of  the  public  debt  will  not  be  regu 
larly  paid,  or  that  various  departments  will  be  starved  ; 
probably  a  little  of  both.  Hence  will  result  a  loss  of  pub 
lic  credit,  and  then  with  much  injury  to  commerce  and 
manufactures,  operating  a  further  decrease  of  the  means 
of  revenue,  and  much  debility  as  to  the  exterior  operations 
of  the  kingdom.  At  this  moment  the  discontented  spirits 
will  find  congenial  matter  in  abundance  to  work  upon,  and 
from  that  period  all  the  future  is  involved  in  the  mist  of 
conjecture.  If  the  reigning  prince  were  not  the  small-beer 
character  he  is,  there  can  be  but  little  doubt  that,  watch 
ing  events  and  making  tolerable  use  of  them,  he  would  re 
gain  his  authority  ;  but  what  will  you  have  from  a  creature 
who,  situated  as  he  is,  eats  and  drinks  and  sleeps  well,  and 
laughs  and  is  as  merry  a  grig  as  lives  ?  The  idea  that  they 
will  give  him  some  money  when  he  can  economize,  and 
that  he  will  have  no  trouble  in  governing,  contents  him 
entirely.  Poor  man,  he  little  thinks  how  unstable  is  his 
situation.  He  is  beloved,  but  it  is  not  with  the  sort  of 
love  which  a  monarch  should  inspire  ;  it  is  that  kind  of 
good-natured  pity  which  one  feels  for  a  led  captive.  There 
is,  besides,  no  possibility  of  serving  him,  for  at  the  slightest 
show  of  opposition  he  gives  up  everything,  and  every  per 
son.  As  to  his  ministers,  the  Comte  de  Montmorin  has 
more  understanding  than  people  in  general  imagine,  and 
he  means  well,  very  well,  but  he  means  it  feebly.  He  is  a 
good,  easy  kind  of  man,  one  who  would  make  an  excellent 
peace  minister  in  quiet  times,  but  he  wants  the  vigor  of 


mind  needful  for  great  occasions.  The  Comte  de  la  Lu- 
zerne  is  an  indolent,  pleasant  companion,  a  man  of  honor, 
and  as  obstinate  as  you  please,  but  he  has  somewhat  of 
the  creed  of  General  Gates,  that  the  world  does  a  great 
part  of  its  own  business,  without  the  aid  of  those  who  are 
at  the  head  of  affairs.  The  success  of  such  men  depends 
very  much  upon  the  run  of  the  dice.  The  Comte  de  St. 
Priest  is  the  only  man  among  them  who  has  what  they  call 
caractere,  which  answers  to  our  idea  of  firmness,  joined  to 
some  activity  ;  but  a  person  who  knows  him  pretty  well 
(which  I  do  not),  assures  me  that  he  is  mercenary  and 
false-hearted  ;  if  so,  he  cannot  possess  much  good  sense, 
whatever  may  be  his  share  of  genius  or  talents.  M.  de 
la  Tour  du  Pin,  whom  I  am  almost  unacquainted  with,  is, 
I  am  told,  no  great  things  in  any  respect.  M.  Necker  was 
frightened  by  the  enrages  into  the  acceptance  of  him  in 
stead  of  the  Marquis  de  Montesquiou,  who  has  a  consid 
erable  share  of  talents  and  a  good  deal  of  method.  Mon 
tesquiou  is,  of  course,  at  present  the  enemy  of  M.  Necker, 
having  been  his  friend. 

"  As  to  M.  Necker,  he  is  one  of  those  men  who  has  ob 
tained  a  much  greater  reputation  than  he  had  any  right 
to.  His  enemies  say  that  as  a  banker  he  acquired  his  for 
tune  by  means  which,  to  say  the  least,  were  indelicate,  and 
they  mention  instances.  But  in  this  country  everything 
is  so  much  exaggerated  that  nothing  is  more  useful  than  a 
little  scepticism.  M.  Necker,  in  his  public  administration, 
has  always  been  honest  and  disinterested,  which  proves 
well  I  think  for  his  former  private  conduct,  or  else  it 
proves  that  he  has  more  vanity  than  cupidity.  Be  that  as 
it  may,  an  unspotted  integrity  as  minister,  and  serving  at 
his  own  expense  in  an  office  which  others  seek  for  the  pur 
pose  of  enriqhing  themselves,  have  acquired  him  very  de 
servedly  much  confidence.  Add  to  this,  his  writings  on 

I79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  283 

finance  teem  with  that  sort  of  sensibility  which  makes  the 
fortune  of  modern  romances,  and  which  is  exactly  suited 
to  this  lively  nation,  who  love  to  read  but  hate  to  think. 
Hence  his  reputation.  He  is  a  man  of  genius,  and  his 
wife  is  a  woman  of  sense.  But  neither  of  them  has  tal 
ents,  or,  rather,  the  talents  of  a  great  minister.  His  educa 
tion  as  a  banker  has  taught  him  to  make  tight  bargains 
and  put  him  upon  his  guard  against  projects.  But  though 
he  understands  man  as  a  covetous  creature,  he  does  not 
understand  mankind,  a  defect  which  is  irremediable.  He 
is  utterly  ignorant  also  of  politics,  by  which  I  mean  poli 
tics  in  the  great  sense,  or  that  sublime  science  which  em 
braces  for  its  object  the  happiness  of  mankind.  Conse 
quently  he  neither  knows  what  constitution  to  form  nor 
how  to  obtain  the  consent  of  others  to  such  as  he  wishes. 
From  the  moment  of  convening  the  States-General,  he  has 
been  afloat  on  the  wide  ocean  of  incidents.  But  what  is 
most  extraordinary  is,  that  M.  Necker  is  a  very  poor  finan 
cier.  This  I  know  will  sound  like  heresy  in  the  ears  of 
most  people,  but  it  is  true.  The  plans  he  has  proposed 
are  feeble  and  ineptious.  Hitherto  he  has  been  supported 
by  borrowing  from  the  Caisse  d'Escompte,  which  (being  by 
means  of  what  they  call  here  an  arr$t  de  surs/ance  secured 
from  all  prosecution)  has  lent  him  a  sum  in  their  paper 
exceeding  the  totality  of  their  capital  by  about  four  mill 
ions  sterling.  Last  autumn  he  came  forward  to  the  As- 
semblee  with  a  dreadful  tale  of  woe,  at  the  fag  end  of 
which  was  a  tax  upon  every  member  of  the  community  of 
a  fourth  of  his  revenue,  which  he  declared  to  be  needful 
for  saving  the  state.  His  enemies  adopted  it  (declaring, 
what  is  very  true,  that  it  is  a  wretched,  impracticable  ex 
pedient)  in  the  hope  that  he  and  his  scheme  would  fall  to 
gether.  This  Assemblee,  this  patriotic  band,  took  in  a 
lump  the  minister's  proposition,  because  of  their  confidence 


and  the  confidence  of  the  people  in  them,  as  they  said,  but, 
in  fact,  because  they  would  not  risk  the  unpopularity  of 
a  tax.  The  plan  thus  adopted,  M.  Necker,  to  escape  the 
snare  which  he  had  nearly  got  taken  in,  altered  his  tax  into 
what  they  call  the  patriotic  contribution.  By  this  every 
man  is  to  declare,  if  he  pleases,  what  he  pleases  to  estimate 
as  his  annual  income,  and  to  pay  one-fourth  of  it  in  three 
years.  You  will  easily  suppose  that  this  fund  was  unpro 
ductive,  and,  notwithstanding  the  imminent  danger  of  the 
state,  here  we  are  without  any  aid  from  the  contribution 
patriotique.  His  next  scheme  was  that  of  a  national  bank, 
or  at  least  an  extension  of  the  Caisse  d'Escompte.  It  has 
been  variously  modelled  since,  and  many  capital  objections 
removed,  but  at  last  it  is  good  for  nothing,  and  so  it  will 
turn  out  ;  at  present  it  is  just  beginning.  By  way  of  giv 
ing  some  base  to  the  present  operation,  it  is  proposed  and 
determined  to  sell  about  ten  or  twelve  millions  sterling  of 
the  Crown  and  Church  lands,  both  of  which  are,  by  reso 
lution  of  the  Assemblee,  declared  to  belong  to  the  nation  ; 
but  as  it  is  clear  that  these  lands  will  not  sell  well  just 
now,  they  have  appointed  a  treasurer  to  receive  what  they 
will  sell  for  hereafter,  and  they  issue  a  kind  of  order  upon 
this  treasurer,  which  is  to  be  called  an  assignat,  and  is  to  be 
paid  (out  of  the  sales)  one,  two,  and  three  years  hence. 
They  expect  that  on  these  assignats  they  can  borrow 
money  to  face  the  engagements  of  the  Caisse  d'Escompte, 
and  they  are  at  the  same  time  to  pay  some  of  the  more  press 
ing  debts  with  the  same  assignats.  Now  this  plan  must 
fail  as  follows  :  First,  there  will  be  some  doubt  about  the 
title  of  these  lands,  at  least  till  the  Revolution  is  completed. 
Secondly,  the  representative  of  lands  must  always  (for  a 
reason  which  will  presently  appear)  sell  for  less  than  a 
representative  of  money,  and  therefore,  until  public  confi 
dence  is  so  far  restored  as  that  the  five  per  cents  are  above 


par,  these  assignats,  bearing  five  per  cent,  must  be  below 
par ;  money,  therefore,  cannot  be  raised  upon  them  but  at 
a  considerable  discount.  Thirdly,  the  lands  to  be  disposed 
of  must  sell  a  great  deal  below  their  value,  for  there  is  not 
money  to  buy  them  in  this  country,  and  the  proof  is  that 
they  never  obtained  money  on  loan  at  a  legal  interest,  but 
always  upon  a  premium  sufficient  to  draw  it  from  the 
employments  of  commerce  and  manufactures  ;  and  as  the 
Revolution  has  greatly  lessened  the  mass  of  money,  the 
effect  of  the  scarcity  must  be  greater.  But  further,  there 
is  a  solecism  in  the  plan  which  escapes  most  of  them,  and 
which  is  nevertheless  very  palpable.  The  value  of  lands 
in  Europe  is,  you  know,  estimated  by  the  income.  To  dis 
pose  of  public  lands,  therefore,  is  to  sell  public  revenue, 
and  therefore,  taking  the  legal  interest  at  five  per  cent., 
land  renting  for  icof.  ought  to  sell  for  2,ooof.  ;  but  they  ex 
pect  that  these  lands  will  sell  for  3,ooof.,  and  that  thereby 
not  only  public  credit  will  be  restored  but  a  great  saving 
will  be  made,  as  the  3,ooof.  will  redeem  an  interest  of  i5of. 
It  is,  however,  an  indisputable  fact  that,  public  credit  be 
ing  established,  the  stocks  are  worth  more  than  land  of 
equal  income,  and  for  three  reasons  :  First,  that  there  is  no 
trouble  whatever  in  the  management ;  secondly,  there  is  no 
danger  of  bad  crops  and  taxes  ;  and,  thirdly,  they  can  be  dis 
posed  of  at  a  moment's  warning,  if  the  owner  wants  money, 
and  be  as  readily  repurchased  when  it  suits  his  conveni 
ence,  If,  therefore,  the  public  credit  be  restored,  and 
there  be  a  surplus  sum  of  ten  to  twelve  millions  to  be  in 
vested,  and  if  such  large  sales  (contrary  to  custom)  should 
not,  from  the  amount,  affect  the  price,  still  the  lands  must 
go  cheaper  than  the  stocks,  and  consequently  the  interest 
bought  will  be  smaller  than  the  revenue  sold. 

"  Having  thus  given  you  a  very  rude  sketch  of  the  men 
and  the  measures  of  this  country,  I  see  and  feel  that  it  is 


time  to  conclude.  I  sincerely  wish  I  could  say  that  there 
are  able  men  at  hand  to  take  the  helm,  should  the  present 
pilot  abandon  the  ship.  But  I  have  great  apprehensions 
as  to  those  who  may  succeed.  The  present  set  must  wear 
out  in  the  course  of  the  year,  and  most  of  them  would  be 
glad  to  get  fairly  out  of  the  scrape  at  present,  but  it  is 
alike  dangerous  to  stay  or  to  go,  and  they  must  patiently 
await  the  breath  of  the  Assembly  and  follow  as  it  blows. 
The  new  order  of  things  cannot  endure.  I  hope  it  may  be 
mended,  but  fear  it  may  be  changed.  All  Europe  just 
now  is  like  a  mine  ready  to  explode,  and  if  this  winter 
does  not  produce  peace,  next  summer  will  behold  a  wider 
extension  of  the  war." 

"  To-day  [January  26th],  at  half-past  three,  I  go  to  M.  de 
Lafayette's.  He  tells  me  that  he  wishes  to  have  a  meet 
ing  of  Mr.  Short,  Mr.  Paine,  and  myself,  to  consider  their 
judiciary,  because  his  place  imposes  on  him  the  necessity 
of  being  right.  I  tell  him  that  Paine  can  do  him  no  good, 
for  that,  although  he  has  an  excellent  pen  to  write,  he  has 
but  an  indifferent  head  to  think.  In  conversing  about 
this  affair  he  tells  me  that  he  has  gotten  into  his  posses 
sion  a  m&moire  written  by  the  refugees  of  Turin  to  stir  up 
the  Princes  of  Germany  against  France,  etc.  It  is  to  be 
read  in  council  to-morrow  by  M.  de  Montmorin.  La 
fayette  says  it  shall  be  published.  I  desire  him  to  suspend 
that  determination,  and  give  him  reasons  which  convince 
his  judgment,  but  without  affecting  his  will.  He  is  to 
show  it  to  me  to-morrow,  and  I  think  the  public  will  soon 
be  let  into  the  secret.  At  half-past  nine  go  to  the  Lou 
vre.  Madame  has  another  lady  with  her  and  is  at  play. 
She  apologizes  for  it  in  English,  which  the  other  un 
derstands.  This  is  whimsical  enough.  I  make  tea  for 
them,  and  at  half-past  eleven  we  are  left  en  tete-a-tete. 
I  communicate  to  her  a  note,  written  this  morning,  upon 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  28/ 

the  situation  of  affairs,  and  the  conduct  which  the  King 
ought  to  pursue.  This  she  will  hand  to  the  Queen 
through  Vicq  d'Azyr,  the  Queen's  physician.  I  tell  her 
that  she  must  cultivate  the  Queen  and  give  her  good 
advice,  the  direct  contrary  of  what  the  King  receives 
from  the  ruling  party  ;  that  if  they  succeed  she  will 
then  be  provided  for  by  means  of  her  friends,  but  if 
if  they  fail,  then  the  Queen  will  feel  obligations  which, 
having  the  power,  she  will  of  course  repay.  My  friend 
feels  some  repugnance  to  this,  which  is  only  proper  con 
duct  for  her.  She  tells  me  an  affair  in  which  the  Marquis 
de  Montesquiou  behaves  with  indelicacy,  and  in  which  she 
sees  the  prospect  of  making  some  money.  She  is  to  give 
me  the  particulars  for  my  consideration.  I  leave  her  at 
half-past  twelve  and  return  home." 

"  Friday  [January  29th],  I  go  to  M.  de  Montmorin's  to 
eat  the  trout,  which  was  so  much  '  mortifie  '  that  he  refused 
to  assist  at  this  repast.  In  plain  English,  it  was  spoiled 
some  days  ago.  Before  dinner  the  question  of  the  King's 
visit  to  the  Assemblee  was  started,  and  I  very  impru 
dently  give  my  opinion  of  that  measure.  Reflection  tells 
me  that  whether  proposed  by  Necker  or  by  Lafayette, 
Montmorin  has  probably  agreed  to  it.  The  Baron  de 
Besenval  is  released  from  his  confinement  this  evening, 
about  eight  o'clock.  From  what  Madame  de  Chastellux 
tells  me  as  coming  from  Madame  Necker,  by  the  Due  de 
Nivernois,  I  conclude  that  the  proposed  plan  for  the 
King  originates  in  the  Finance  Department.  It  is  ridicu 
lous.  Go  to  the  Louvre.  M.  de  Montesquiou  is  there.  We 
have  some  conversation  on  political  topics,  and  after  a 
while  he  goes  away.  Madame  de  Flahaut  is  exceedingly 
distressed.  She  tells  me  their  conversation,  from  which 
she  collected  that  unless  he  can  borrow  money  to  relieve 
his  wants  he  must  put  an  end  to  his  existence.  She  is 


much  shocked  at  the  situation  of  a  friend  who  has  been 
long  and  sincerely  attached  to  her.  I  calm  her  griefs  as 
well  as  I  can,  and  leave  her  to  go  to  Madame  de  Chas- 
tellux's.  The  Comte  de  Segur  gives  me  all  the  reasons 
for  the  King  going  to  the  Assemblee,  which  are  not  worth 
a  sou,  in  my  opinion." 

"This  morning  [February  ist]  the  Comte  de  Luxem 
bourg  comes  to  breakfast  with  me  ;  as  I  am  very  busy,  I 
cut  the  conversation  short  and  begin  to  write.  He  leaves 
me,  lamenting  always  that  he  is  not  old  enough  to  be  in 
administration,  where,  with  the  aid  of  my  counsels,  he 
could  do  wonders.  He  will  know  better  by  and  by. 
Dine  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  After  dinner  we  dis 
cuss  a  question  on  which  I  deliver  a  sentiment  somewhat 
extraordinary,  in  this  extraordinary  country,  viz.,  that  a 
woman  of  sense  and  learning  is  more  easily  led  astray 
than  another  ;  among  other  reasons,  because,  having  per 
haps  a  higher  sense  of  duty,  she  feels  a  pleasure  propor 
tionately  greater  in  the  breach  which  leads  her  on  further 
and  faster  than  another  could  go.  The  Duchess  denies 
this  position,  but  in  my  elucidations  I  give  some  traits  of 
female  sentiment  so  true  that  an  old  lady  present  declares 
my  opinion  to  be  abominable,  but  fears  it  is  just.  I  can 
not  stay  to  finish  the  discussion,  but  as  soon  as  my  car 
riage  is  announced  I  step  into  it  and  go  to  M.  Necker's. 
I  tell  him  briefly  the  conduct  of  the  houses  in  Holland, 
and  add  that  I  must  go  thither  before  I  can  deal  further 
with  him.  He  seems  to  be  much  disappointed.  I  tell 
him  that  I  will  do  everything  in  my  power  to  conclude  the 
affair  agreeably  to  his  -  wishes ;  that  it  is  possible  the 
United  States  may  employ  me,  and  in  that  case  I  shall, 
from  motives  of  delicacy,  decline  all  further  dealings  with 
him,  but  in  such  case  I  will  cause  the  thing  to  be  done  by 
others.  He  seems  better  pleased.  He  is  one  of  those 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  289 

men  whose  opinions  one  must  guess  at.  From  Madame's 
manner,  I  think  I  can  perceive  that  my  neglect  of  the 
house  for  some  time  past  has  not  been  useful.  Perhaps 
there  are  other  reasons.  There  are  commotions  in  Brit 
tany,  and  the  Comte  de  Thiard  tells  me  that  commotions 
arise  from  the  Tiers,  i.e.,  from  some  citizens  disguised  as 
peasants.  Evidently  it  is  a  concert  with  the  members  of  the 
Assemblee.  Go  hence  to  the  Louvre,  and  sup.  Madame  de 
Flahaut  tells  me  that  the  Queen  has  told  Vicq  d'Azyr  she 
has  heard  that  the  Bishop  is  a  man  of  great  abilities,  and 
that  it  is  worth  while  to  have  such  men.  Vicq  d'Azyr  said 
he  was  well  assured,  from  one  of  his  intimate  friends,  that 
Her  Majesty  would  never  have  cause  to  complain  of  him. 
The  Queen  smiled  and  said  she  knew  who  that  friend  was, 
to  which  the  physician  replied,  *  Then  Your  Majesty  will 
spare  me  the  indiscretion  of  mentioning  it.'  He  gave  her 
the  note  I  had  written,  and  which  Madame  de  Flahaut 
had  copied  for  the  purpose.  The  Queen  said  that,  so  long 
as  M.  Necker  continues  in  office,  she  will  not  interfere  in 

"This  morning  [February  3d]  M.  de  la  Chaise  calls,  and 
I  spend  the  rest  of  the  morning  with  him.  I  try  to  per 
suade  him  to  join  me  at  once  in  an  offer  to  M.  Necker  on 
the  debt,  but  he  is  afraid.  I  show  him  the  advantages  of 
which  the  plan  is  susceptible,  and  the  facility  of  the  exe 
cution,  but  he  dares  not.  He  recommends  it  to  me  very 
strongly  to  go  to  Holland,  and  I  think  I  shall  take  his  ad 
vice.  Dine  at  the  Palais  Royal.  An  excellent  dinner. 
Puisignieu,  who  is  here,  tells  me  that  he  finds  that  I  was 
right  in  my  ideas  about  the  effect  of  the  King's  speech, 
and  owns  that  he  was  mistaken.  I  whisper  to  Madame  de 
Segur  that  this  information  has  no  effect  either  to  alter  or 
confirm  that  opinion,  which  is  founded  on  what  I  con 
ceive  to  be  the  nature  of  man.  It  is  a  very  strange  thing 


that  men  who  have  lived  in  the  world  fifty  years  should 
believe  that  opposition,  founded  on  strong  direct  personal 
interests,  can  be  instantly  calmed  by  a  few  honeyed  ex 
pressions.  The  present  idea  is  that  it  will  have  a  won 
derful  effect  in  the  provinces,  but  I  can  conceive  of  no 
other  effect  there  than  to  create  animosity.  The  noblesse 
will  consider  it  as  the  effect  of  the  thraldom  in  which  he  is 
held,  and  the  populace  as  a  declaration  of  war  against  their 
superiors.  The  Abbe  Delille  repeats  some  verses,  his 

*  Catacombs.'     They  are  very  fine,  and  very  well  spoken, 
but  I  remark  to   him  that  one  of  his  lines  is  un  pen  fort  : 

1 II  ne  voit  que  la  nuit,  rientend que  la  silence.' 

He  tells  me  he  is  surprised  that  I,  above  all  men,  should 
make  that  remark,  who  must  certainly  remember  Milton's 

*  darkness  visible.'      There  is  a  difference,  however,  both 
in  the  phrase  and  in  the  idea  ;  there  is  a  difference,  also, 
in  the    kind    of  poem,  and    perhaps    Milton  was   on  the 
verge,  at  least,  of  bombast  in  that  expression.     However, 
I  do  not  discuss  the  matter  further  with  him." 

Just  as  Morris  was  hoping  to  arrange  satisfactorily 
the  affair  of  a  loan  on  the  debt  to  France  with  houses  in 
Holland,  he  received  the  information  "  that  the  houses  in 
Holland  have  not  only  refused  to  be  connected  with  me, 
either  as  parties  or  on  commission,  but  have  opened  a  loan 
for  3,000,000!  on  account  of  Congress,  and  written  a  letter 
to  Mr.  Hamilton  *  and  M.  Necker  urging  them  not  to  agree. 
Go  to  Mr.  Short's  to  see  the  letter  to  Hamilton,  which, 
besides  being  a  very  foolish  one,  is,  like  all  the  rest,  a  vio 
lation  of  the  promises  made  to  me.  I  tell  Van  Staphorst 
my  opinion  of  their  conduct,  which  he  acknowledges  to 
be  just.  I  have  disagreeable  forebodings  about  the  af- 

*  Alexander  Hamilton,  Secretary  of  ine  Treasury  of  the  United  States. 


fairs  negotiating  in  Holland.  Van  Staphorst  tells  me 
that  he  thinks  I  had  better  go  to  Amsterdam,  arid  that,  al 
though  the  houses  do  not  merit  a  participation  in  my  plan, 
yet  they  can  be  so  useful  that  I  shall  find  it  to  my  interest 
to  employ  them.  I  tell  him  that  I  think  I  shall  go.  Short 
comes  to  see  me,  and  I  read  him  my  letter  to  Colonel 
Hamilton.  He  will  write  in  conformity  to  my  sentiments, 
and  is  much  hurt  to  find  that  the  plan  has  not  succeeded. 
Madame  de  Segur  is  at  Madame  de  Chastellux's  when 
I  call  there.  She  tells  me,  and  the  Marechal  confirms  it, 
that  the  Queen  decided  the  King  to  go  to  the  Assemblee. 
She  adds,  as  received  from  an  aristocratic  quarter,  that  His 
Majesty,  the  day  before,  swore  hard  at  Necker,  and 
asked  him  if  that  step  would  procure  peace,  which  the 
poor  minister  could  not  promise  ;  that  he  was  very  much 
out  of  humor,  also,  all  the  morning,  and  that  when  he 
returned  from  the  Assemblee  he  passed  some  time  in  tears. 
I  doubt  that  this  picture  is  overcharged,  but  I  believe  the 
ground  is  just,  and  my  fair  informant  is  of  the  same  opin 
ion.  The  Marechal  avows  that  he  has  been  very  much 
mistaken  as  to  Necker's  abilities." 

On  the  4th  of  February  the  King  sent  a  message  to 
the  Assembly  to  say  that  at  midday  he  desired  to  attend 
their  deliberations :  u  Je  desire  etre  recu  sans  ceremo- 
nie."  Dressed  in  black,  attended  by  several  pages  and 
his  ministers,  he  arrived,  affected  not  to  sit  down,  but, 
hat  in  hand,  read  his  discourse.  The  diary  comments  on 
the  event  as  follows  :  "  The  Comte  de  Montmorin  tells  me 
that  the  King's  speech  has  been  received  with  great  ap 
plause.  The  Assembly  take  an  oath  to  support  the  consti 
tution  which  is  to  be  made.  A  strange  oath.  If  this 
step  of  His  Majesty  has  any  effect  on  reasonable  minds, 
it  must  be  to  prove  more  clearly  the  feebleness  of  his 
ministers,  For  three  mcaths  past  they  have  inveighed 


(to  the  members)  against  the  proceedings  of  the  As 
sembly,  and  they  appear  to  give  His  Majesty's  full  appro 
bation.  Go  from  hence  to  M.  de  Lafayette's.  He  asks 
my  opinion  of  this  step,  and  is  much  surprised  to  hear 
that  I  disapprove  of  it.  I  tell  him  that  I  think  it  can  do 
no  good,  and  must  therefore  do  harm.  He  says  it  will 
enable  him  to  advocate  the  royal  authority  in  the  As- 

"Dine  to-day  [February  5th]  with  the  Prince  de  Bro- 
glio,  and  go  afterwards  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's.  The 
Prince  of  Hesse  comes  in,  and  tells  us  of  what  has  passed 
in  Brabant  relative  to  the  reduction  of  12,000  Hessian 
troops  which  are  sent  for,  and  will  probably  arrive.  This 
comes  exactly  to  the  point  which  I  have  long  suspected. 
Mention,  in  consequence  of  what  Madame  de  Chastellux 
says,  my  opinion,  which  he  contests  a  little,  but  on  going 
away  he  tells  me  it  is  all  easy  enough  if  the  Prince  of 
Brunswick  were  at  the  head  of  affairs  ;  but  this,  he  says, 
is  prevented  by  the  Baron  de  Hertzberg.  I  find  Madame 
de  Flahaut  at  dinner  with  Miss  Fanny  and  Alice,  nieces 
of  her  religieuse.  After  dinner  go  with  Madame  de  Fla 
haut  below  to  answer  a  letter.  After  returning  to  the 
chamber,  they  contrive  to  keep  me  by  simply  locking  the 
door,  and  thus  I  am  deprived  of  my  intended  visit  to  the 
Commandant  General.  Go  from  hence  to  the  house  of 
Madame  de  Vannoise.  A  Madame  de  Pusy,  who  is  here, 
seems  to  be  on  the  lookout  for  aid.  Go  to  Madame  de  La- 
borde's.  A  Mrs.  Williams,  who  is  the  wife  of  an  English 
artillery  officer,  and  daughter  of  Doctor  Mallett,  the 
friend  of  Lord  Bolingbroke,  makes  acquaintance  with  me. 
She  pays  me  some  compliments,  which  are  too  pungent 
for  my  nerves,  and,  though  they  might  have  passed  in 
French,  they  revolt  in  English." 

"While  I  am  dining  to-day  [February  loth]  with  Madame 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  293 

de  Flahaut,  the  Bishop  comes  in,  and  tells  us  the  King's 
advice  to  the  Comte  d'Angivilliers,  which  is  curious.  *  Pray 
be  quiet,  Count,  for  the  times  are  difficult,  and  everyone 
must  take  care  of  himself  ;  so  that,  if  you  censure  the  pres 
ent  measures,  you  may  get  yourself  into  trouble.'  Go 
hence  to  Madame  de  Chastellux's  ;  the  Bishop's  report  of 
an  address  from  the  Assemblee  to  their  constituents  is  as 
much  censured  here  as  it  was  applauded  at  M.  de  Lafay 
ette's.  I  see  M.  de  Montmorin,  and  tell  him  what  has  passed 
specting  the  debt,  and  that  in  consequence  I  am  going  to 
Holland.  Go  from  hence  to  the  Comedie  Fran£aise.  A 
wretched  piece.  Take  Madame  de  Flahaut  home.  Mon 
sieur  comes  in  from  Versailles  ;  lend  him  my  carriage  to 
go  to  the  King's  coucher.  Tell  her  that  I  must  go  in  a  day 
or  two  to  Holland." 

"  Go  to-day  [February  i3th]  to  M.  Necker's  to  dinner. 
After  dinner,  as  I  am  going  away,  I  ask  if  he  has  any  com 
missions  for  Amsterdam.  He  asks  what  leads  me  thither; 
I  tell  him  that  I  wish  to  divert  the  gentlemen  there  from 
their  present  pursuits  and  bring  them  into  my  views.  He 
objects.  Says  he  understands  that  the  loan  they  have 
opened  is  filled,  and  that  he  expects  the  Americans  will 
pay  the  debt,  which  is  the  best  way.  Thus  it  seems  that 
this  plan  is  finally  ruined.  At  Madame  de  Chastellux's, 
to-night,  the  Comtesse  de  Segur  tells  me  that  on  Wednes 
day  next  M.  Necker  is  to  go  to  the  Assemblee,  and  tell  them 
that  upon  the  ist  of  March  there  will  not  be  a  shilling 
in  any  chest  belonging  to  the  public.  The  Duchess  comes 
in  ;  the  usual  chit-chat." 

"After  dining  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans,  go  to  La 
fayette's  [February  i5th].  He  takes  me  into  his  closet  and 
enters  into  conversation  on  the  state  of  affairs.  In  the 
course  of  conversation  I  ask  him  what  situation  their  fron 
tier  towns  are  in  toward  Flanders.  He  gives  but  a  dis- 


agreeable  account  of  them,  and  complains  of  the  Minister 
at  War,  whose  misconduct  has  aided  the  spirit  of  revolt 
prevalent  among  the  troops.  I  tell  him  that  the  enemies 
of  France  must  be  extremely  stupid  if  they  do  not  attack 
those  places.  He  is  much  alarmed  at  the  riots  which  still 
rage  in  the  provinces,  and  consults  me  as  to  a  plan  he  has 
in  agitation  for  giving  legal  authority  to  quell  them.  Ap 
prehensive  that  the  officers  of  the  municipality  may  not 
appear  on  some  occasions  to  head  the  military,  he  has,  in 
concurrence  with  M.  Short,  for  this  extraordinary  occasion, 
determined  to  authorize  the  commanding  officer  of  the 
troops  to  act  alone.  Thus  these  violent  advocates  of  lib 
erty  adopt  the  measure  most  hostile  to  it.  I  oppose  the 
plan  ;  show  him  the  evil  consequences,  personal  and  politi 
cal.  In  reply  to  the  question,  what  are  they  to  do  if  the 
municipalities  will  not  make  use  of  the  authorities  com 
mitted  to  them,  I  first  mark  out  the  various  penalties  which 
may  be  devised,  but  conclude  that  they  will  all  prove  in 
sufficient,  because  the  institution  of  the  municipalities  is 
radically  wrong.  Predict  to  him  that  they  will  become 
the  sources  of  endless  confusions,  and  of  great  debility, 
but  observe,  at  the  same  time,  that  they  have  flattered  the 
people  with  such  extravagant  notions  of  liberty  that  I  see 
it  is  out  of  their  power  to  alter  that  organization  until  ex 
perience  may  have  made  them  wiser.  Suggest  the  ap 
pointment  of  commissioners  as  conservators  to  be  sent  into 
each  district.  He  thinks  that  the  Assemblee  will  not  agree 
to  give  the  King  authority  to  name  such  commissioners. 
Finally,  however,  we  agree  that  it  may  be  proper  to  de 
clare,  provisoirement)  that  certain  commissioners  already 
named  for  other  purposes  shall  be  vested  with  the  power 
in  question  until  the  municipalities  are  organized.  He 
tells  me  that  he  must  give  the  King  a  sugar-plum  for  his 
speech  to  the  Assembly.  I  smile,  and  tell  him  that  he  has 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  295 

no  sugar-plum  to  give ;  that  they  have  already  parcelled 
out  the  executive  authority  in  such  way  that  they  cannot 
restore  it  to  the  monarch.  He  tells  me  that  he  has  thought 
of  appointing  St.  Priest  Minister  at  War,  with  Duportail 
under  him.  I  tell  him  that  I  do  not  know  St.  Priest,  but 
understand  from  one  who  does  know  him  that  he  is  faux, 
and  advise  him  to  be  clear  on  that  point  before  he  makes 
him  his  master.  As  to  Duportail,  I  say  nothing,  but  I  be 
lieve  him  to  be  incapable  because  I  believe  him  to  be  too 
much  a  man-of  the  closet ;  but  I  know  that  he  has  ideas 
very  different  from  Lafayette  as  to  this  revolution.  I  tell 
Lafayette  that  their  finances  are  in  the  high  road  to  destruc 
tion  ;  that  anarchy  seems  to  menace,  and  even  already  to 
attack  on  every  quarter  ;  wherefore  they  must,  above  all 
things,  secure  the  army,  which  promises  to  be  the  only  ex 
isting  establishment.  I  tell  him  that  if  a  war  breaks  out 
they  must  conduct  it  on  principles  totally  different  from 
those  hitherto  used  ;  that  they  must  put  strong  garrisons 
in  their  islands,  and  then  abandon  the  ocean  and  totally 
stop  their  commerce,  which  they  will  be  unable  to  protect; 
that  such  ships  as  they  can  fit  out  must  be  sent  to  cruise 
as  privateers  ;  that  they  must  march  with  all  the  force 
they  can  muster  directly  into  Holland,  and  endeavor  to 
possess  themselves  of  that  country.  I  have  not  time  to 
develop  these  ideas,  but  if  needful  I  will  take  an  oppor 
tunity  to  put  them  on  paper.  Mr.  Short  tells  me  that  La 
fayette  consulted  him,  with  others,  this  morning  about  the 
means  of  quelling  riots.  Go  from  hence  to  Madame  de 
Stael's.  Stay  but  a  little  while.  She  desires  me  to  bring  her 
a  novel  from  England,  if  any  good  one  comes  out.  She  has 
been  told  that  I  speak  ill  of  her.  I  tell  her  it  is  not  true." 
"The  morning  of  February  the  i6th,  prepare  for  my 
journey  to  Holland,  get  a  passport  and  maps,  bid  Madame 
de  Flahaut  adieu,  and  at  eleven  on  the  iyth  leave  Paris." 



Journey  to  Antwerp.  Brussels.  Reflections  on  the  state  of  Flanders. 
Vanderhoot's  committee.  Notes  on  the  cathedral  and  galleries  of 
Antwerp.  Supper  at  M.  Cornelison's.  Agreeable  society  of  Antwerp. 
Notes  during  the  journey  to  Amsterdam.  Evening  in  Madame  Bost's 
salon.  Political  discussions.  Force  of  the  Dutch  navy.  Scene  on 
the  Merchants'  Exchange  at  Amsterdam.  News  from  France  of 
Necker's  resignation.  The  Hague.  The  churches  at  Delft.  Crosses 
to  England.  Interview  with  the  Duke  of  Leeds  on  the  treaty  and 
despatch  of  a  minister  to  the  United  States.  News  from  Paris. 
Pointed  opposition  to  Necker.  Visits  Sir  John  Sinclair.  Letter  to 
Colonel  Ternant.  Meets  Fox  at  dinner.  Mrs.  Jordan  at  Drury  Lane 
Theatre.  Warren  Hastings's  trial.  Criticism  on  Burke  and  Fox. 
Brilliant  ball  at  Mrs.  John  B.  Church's. 

MORRIS'S  journey  to  Antwerp  was  not  marked  by 
any  particular  adventures.  Rather  uncomfort 
able  inns,  extortionate  landlords,  and  lazy  horses  are  the 
principal  experiences  he  notes.  "Through  France,"  he 
says,  "  I  find  that  the  decree  of  the  Assembly  respecting 
the  monks  was  very  much  hazarded  and  is  disagreeable  to 
the  people  in  general.  The  appearance  of  the  houses  and 
people  in  Flanders  announces  a  milder  government  than 
that  of  the  country  we  have  quitted.  Parts  of  the  country 
abound  in  coal,  and  the  pits  are  now  worked  to  advantage 
by  the  aid  of  steam-engines.  This  article  seems  all  which 
was  wanted  for  the  wealth  of  Flanders,  and  if  in  the  pres 
ent  ferment  they  should  (by  being  annexed  to  Holland  or 
otherwise)  get  the  Scheldt  opened,  it  will  be  difficult  to 
conjecture  what  will  be  the  extent  of  their  wealth. 

"  At  Brussels  I  see  in  the  Grande  Place  the  Milice  Bour- 


geoise.  Valor  may  supply  these  people  with  something  in 
stead  of  discipline,  but  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  their 
fate  must  be  decided  by  other  force  than  that  of  this  coun 
try.  I  learn  that  the  popular  party,  joined  to  the  nobility, 
begins  to  show  itself  here  against  the  clergy,  but  the 
monks  have  the  advantage  in  the  villages." 

"At  Malines,"  says  the  diary  for  February  2ist,  "the  peo 
ple  are  disposed  to  subject  themselves  to  the  Stadtholder 
and  form  one  country  with  Holland.  They  dislike  the  con 
duct  of  the  States,  at  least  so  says  an  intelligent  fellow  of  a 
waiter,  and  he  seems  as  likely  to  understand  the  sentiments 
of  his  fellow-citizens  as  anybody.  I  ask  him  if  the  relig 
ion  of  the  two  countries  will  not  form  an  obstacle.  He 
says  it  is  thought  not,  for  that  many  of  the  Dutch  begin  to 
become  converts  to  the  Catholic  faith,  '  which  is  not  to  be 
wondered  at,  because  man  cannot  continue  forever  on  this  earth.' 
I  express  my  joy  at  this  happy  circumstance  and  add  my 
opinion  that  the  Dutch  believe  in  God  ;  but  this  is  ex 
pressed  with  an  air  of  doubt  which  requires  further  in 
formation.  'Yes,  sir,  they  believe  in  God,  but  not  in  the 
Holy  Virgin,  and,  besides,  they  eat  flesh  upon  fast  days  ; 
wherefore  you  see  that  they  are  in  a  very  dangerous  way.' 
I  acknowledge  the  force  of  this  observation.  At  Antwerp 
I  overtake  M.  Grand,  who  left  Paris  near  three  days  be 
fore  me  ;  but  by  sundry  accidents  to  his  carriage  he  has 
been  delayed  for  nearly  that  space  of  time.  He  departs 
to-morrow.  Asks  the  news  of  Paris,  and  communicates 
what  he  has  heard  in  his  way.  We  converse  a  little  on 
politics  and  I  give  him  the  result  of  my  reflections  on  the 
state  of  this  country,  which  is,  that  the  true  interest  of 
Holland  is  that  it  should  be  a  republic  and,  as  such,  a  bar 
rier  against  France.  The  Scheldt  will  then  continue  to 
be  shut  up  for  the  benefit  of  Amsterdam  and  Rotterdam. 
The  interest  of  France  is  to  possess  this  country,  by  which 

298  DIARY    AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XIV. 

means  she  keeps  all  enemies  at  a  most  respectful  distance, 
and  the  interest  of  this  country  is  to  become  subject  to 
Britain,  for  by  that  means  only  can  they  enjoy  the  benefit 
of  an  extensive  commerce. 

"M.  Grand  tells  me  [February  22d]  that  M.  Necker  wants 
the  money  which  has  been  borrowed  by  the  Dutch  houses. 
After  he  leaves  me  I  visit  M.  de  Wolf,  and  we  enter  upon 
business  immediately.  Visit  M.  Van  Ertborn  and  converse 
with  him  about  the  situation  of  the  politics  of  this  coun 
try.  In  the  course  of  conversation  he  tells  me  that  the 
people  here  have  more  capital  than  good  use  for  it,  but 
they  are  wary  of  speculations  and  loans,  many  affairs  of 
that  kind  having  turned  out  badly.  They  are  generally 
of  opinion  here  that  France  must  make  soon  a  bankruptcy. 
It  is  made  long  since.  Dalton  is  dead,  but  it  is  yet  a  dis 
pute  whether  by  poison,  pistol,  or  gout.  Vanderhoot  is 
of  a  committee  called  the  Secret  Committee.  He  is  to 
be  in  town  to-morrow.  That  committee,  a  kind  of  self- 
elected  body,  have,  it  is  said,  made  some  kind  of  treaty 
with  foreign  powers.  I  doubt  that  fact  much.  A  young 
man  who  arrives  from  Brussels,  and  is  in  the  patriot  army, 
gives  but  a  wretched  account  of  the  Etats-Generaux.  Al 
ready  there  has  been  a  riot  at  Brussels,  in  which  they  say 
one  person  lost  his  life.  In  consequence,  Vanderhoot,  as 
the  representative  of  the  Nation,  has  published  a  placard  pur 
porting  that  the  States  act  only  as  representatives  of  the 
people,  in  whom  the  sovereignty  resides." 

"  Breakfast  [February  27th]  with  M.  Dubois.  He  gives 
me  the  French  gazettes.  The  Marquis  de  Favras  is,  I 
find,  condemned  and  executed.  He  died  bravely,  and  I 
believe  unjustly.  But  a  sacrifice  was,  I  suppose,  deemed  to 
be  necessary.  After  breakfast  we  go  to  the  cathedral,  and 
there  view  the  famous  'Descent  from  the  Cross,'  painted 
by  Rubens.  It  is  done  with  dreadful  exactitude.  Another 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  299 

fine  picture  in  this  church  is  the  '  Beatification  of  the 
Blessed  Virgin,'  which  appears  to  have  been  completed  by 
Rubens  in  fifteen  days,  and  to  have  been  paid  for  at  the  rate 
of  100  florins  per  day.  His  receipt  has  been  discovered  for 
this  picture  charged  in  that  way.  From  the  cathedral  in 
stead  of  going,  as  we  at  first  intended,  to  visit  some  gal 
leries  of  paintings,  we  go  to  the  house  of  M.  Van  Ertborn 
to  see  the  triumphal  entry  of  M.  Vanderhoot.  On  this 
occasion  the  troops  are  all  turned  out  under  arms,  and  we 
have  as  fine  a  procession  as  the  city  can  afford.  It  is,  in 
fact,  very  splendid,  and  the  hero  of  the  day  enters  amid 
the  repeated  acclamations  of  his  fellow- citizens.  Van 
Eupon,  the  Secretary  of  the  States,  accompanies  him,  and 
is  also  one  of  the  pillars  of  the  Revolution. 

"Go  to  dine  with  M.  de  Wolf.  Mr.  Westbrook  and  his 
lady  are  here,  also  a  colonel  in  the  British  service,  a  Ger 
man,  whose  object  at  Antwerp  is  to  make  a  loan  for  the 
Prince  of  Wales  and  the  Dukes  of  York  and  Clarence. 
Mr.  Westbrook  assures  me  that  the  revolution  is  to  be  at 
tributed  entirely  to  Vanderhoot.  The  colonel  tells  me 
that  Yorktown  in  Virginia  was  taken  by  the  French  troops 
only,  and  that  the  Americans  looked  on  at  a  distance.  I 
hope,  for  the  honor  of  Mr.  Vanderhoot,  that  the  one  piece 
of  information  is  more  just  than  the  other.  I  take  the 
liberty  to  put  the  colonel  right,  which  might  as  well  per 
haps  have  been  let  alone,  but  I  could  not  resist  the  pro 
pensity.  We  have  a  very  good  fish  dinner,  for  this  is  a 
maigre  day.  Go  with  M.  Dubois  to  a  concert.  We  are 
in  the  box  of  Madame  with  her  sister,  the  Comtesse  d'Otro- 
inonde,  and  their  father,  the  Comte  d'Aes,  who  informs 
me  that  news  are  arrived  announcing  with  certainty  the 
Emperor's  death.  The  Comte  d'Otromonde  and  his  lady 
repeat  a  very  polite  invitation  to  dine  on  Monday,  as  I 
could  not  be  of  their  party  this  day,  but  I  must  depart  for 


Amsterdam.  After  waiting  about  half  an  hour  Vander- 
hoot  comes  in,  and  is  received  by  loud  acclamations, 
which  are  repeated  at  every  interval  during  the  concert. 
After  he  goes  out  they  continue  singing  different  songs  to 
his  honor  in  the  French  and  Flemish  languages.  The 
former  are  more  estimable  for  the  sentiment  than  for  the 
poetry,  and  the  latter  I  do  not  understand.  With  my  pen 
cil  I  write  on  a  card  and  give  to  the  ladies  my  tribute  of 
applause  in  English,  which  they  do  not  understand,  and 
are  therefore  at  liberty  to  believe  that  it  is  excellent. 

Let  freedom's  friends  from  every  clime 

Here  virtue's  noble  triumph  see. 
Hail,  Vanderhoot !  to  latest  time 

Thy  name  shall  still  remember'd  be. 

For  thee  the  patriot's  breast  shall  glow, 
For  thee  the  grateful  song  shall  rise, 

On  thee  celestial  choirs  bestow 
A  place  distinguish'd  in  the  skies. 

From  the  concert  we  take  a  turn  in  the  coach  of  Ma 
dame  Dubois  through  the  town  to  see  the  illuminations, 
and  then  go  to  supper  at  M.  Cornelison's,  who  married  the 
sister  of  M.  Dubois.  The  burgundy  here  is  transcend- 
ently  good,  but  though  of  generous  quality  and  generously 
bestowed,  I  feel  not  the  desire  to  pour  out  large  libations. 
After  supper  the  conversation  turns  on  the  politics  and 
revolution  of  this  country.  The  master  of  the  house, 
who  seems  to  be  much  indisposed  to  the  authority  assumed 
by  the  States,  and  is  not  perhaps  a  very  great  friend  to  the 
revolution,  gives  us  a  history  of  it  in  his  way  ;  and  as  some 
dispute  arises,  I  am  able  to  collect  from  the  whole  conver 
sation  that  a  much  greater  portion  of  the  success  is  to  be 
attributed  to  the  misconduct  of  the  Austrian  troops  than 
to  the  vigor  of  the  patriots  either  in  body  or  mind.  And 
it  seems  also  to  be  pretty  clear  that  the  members  of  the 


States  are  of  that  species  which  is  called  good  sort  of  men  ; 
and,  indeed,  if  I  might  judge  from  Vanderhoot's  counte 
nance,  he,  also,  is  rather  distinguishable  for  bonhomie  than 
for  talents.  Those  who  are  called  the  Tiers  Etat  are  rep 
resentatives  rather  of  the  sovereign  than  of  the  people, 
from  the  manner  in  which  the  elections  are  made  ;  and  as 
the  nobles  are  hereditary,  and  the  clergy  are  more  proper 
ly  a  profession  than  a  political  order,  it  must  be  confessed 
that  such  an  assemblage  (originally  possessed  by  their  con 
stitution  of  a  share  of  the  legislative  authority,  and  now 
by  their  own  assumption  possessed  of  the  remainder,  and 
of  the  whole  executive  authority)  does  not  seem  likely  to 
render  the  condition  of  the  people  very  agreeable  should 
this  form  of  government  be  finally  established.  But  I 
cannot  but  think  it  more  prudent  to  secure  the  country 
first  against  the  late  sovereign,  and  afterwards,  when  the 
revolution  is  completed,  put  their  internal  affairs  in  order. 

"  The  English  nation  seems  to  be  more  agreeable  to  the 
inhabitants  of  this  country  than  either  the  Dutch  or 
French.  I  do  not  exactly  see  the  reason  of  this,  nor  do  I 
recollect  anything  in  their  history  which  should  have  given 
rise  to  this  preference.  The  shutting  up  of  the  Scheldt 
seems  naturally  enough  to  account  for  a  rooted  dislike  of 
the  Dutch,  and  perhaps  they  are  too  near  neighbors  for 
the  French  to  be  very  much  attached  to  them,  for  among 
nations  as  with  individuals  near  neighbors  are  seldom  good 

"  After  dining  to-day  [February  28th]  with  M.  de  Wolf 
we  behold  the  procession  of  M.  Vanderhoot,  who  is  about 
to  depart,  and  who  is  escorted  from  the  city  with  as  much 
pomp  as  was  yesterday  displayed  to  receive  him.  Later 
in  the  evening  M.  Dubois  takes  me  to  his  brother's  to 
sup.  After  supper  the  conversation  is  accidentally  turned 
to  religion,  and  a  gentleman  present  observes  that  in  all 


countries  there  is  an  established  religion.  I  assure  him 
that  there  is  none  in  America.  We  are  led  too  far  on  this 
head,  for  this  country  is  too  ignorant  as  yet  to  understand 
the  true  principles  of  human  policy  with  respect  to  relig 
ion,  and  too  bigoted,  so  that  truths  almost  universally  ac 
knowledged  appear  almost  like  atheism.  At  least  such  is 
my  conjecture,  from  the  countenances  of  the  company, 
when  I  tell  them  that  God  is  sufficiently  powerful  to  do 
his  own  business  without  human  aid,  and  that  man  should 
confine  his  care  to  the  actions  of  his  fellow-creatures,  leav 
ing  to  that  Being  to  influence  the  thoughts  as  he  may 
think  proper." 

March  ist,  Morris  left  Antwerp  and  proceeded  to  Am 
sterdam.  "My  short  residence  in  this  city,"  he  says,  "has 
attached  me  to  the  society  I  was  in,  so  that  I  leave  it  with 
regret."  The  business  which  occasioned  his  visit  was 
not  without  result,  for  he  and  De  Wolf  "agreed  as  to  ways 
and  means  of  operating  hereafter  in  the  American  debt." 
On  his  way  he  observes  that  "the  whole  country  on  the 
right  is  laid  waste,  and  the  greater  part  is  under  water. 
The  appearance  as  we  approach  is  terrible,  for  it  looks 
like  a  wide  ocean  which  we  are  to  cross  on  a  strip  of  land. 
The  fact,  I  find,  is  that  the  dyke  was  broken  down  by  the 
river,  and  the  torrent  swept  away  everything.  It  appears 
to  have  been  done  a  year  or  two  ago,  and  is  at  present  re 
paired,  but  this  is  only  a  specimen  of  the  state  which 
seems  to  threaten,  though  perhaps  at  a  very  remote  period, 
this  extraordinary  country.  A  great  part  of  it  is  very 
much  below  the  level  of  the  water,  and  therefore  the  small 
est  perforation  of  the  bank  would  let  in  the  inundation  at 
any  time.  The  texture  of  these  dykes  also  appears  to  me 
to  be  nothing  more  than  the  common  earth  thrown  up. 
If  so,  a  cargo  of  musk-rats  would  do  them  more  serious 
mischief  than  an  hundred  thousand  men,  provided  that 

1790-1  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  303 

animal  could  exist  in  this  climate,  and  I  see  no  reason  why 
it  should  not.  After  we  leave  this  theatre  of  destruction 
we  go  along  a  very  considerable  distance  with  the  Haarlem 
Meer  (a  very  large  lake  communicating  near  to  the  city  of 
Amsterdam  with  the  ocean).  On  our  left  and  on  our  right 
the  turf  grounds  are  under  water,  the  road  too  narrow 
to  admit  of  more  than  one  carriage  for  a  great  part  of  the 
way,  and  the  Haarlem  Meer  (perhaps  swelled  by  the  tide) 
is  nearly  on  a  level  with  us.  This  is  as  dreary  and  dis 
agreeable  a  ride  as  can  be  wished.  At  a  little  before  four 
we  are  set  down  at  the  'Arms  of  Amsterdam,'  so  that  we 
have  been  nine  hours  on  the  road." 

"Go  to  see  M.  Hope  on  business  of  the  American  debt 
[March  4th].  The  envoy  from  Prussia  to  Portugal  comes 
in.  At  dinner  the  conversation  turns  a  little  upon  the 
state  of  Europe,  and  the  envoy  seems  to  think  that  the 
Archduke  will  be  chosen  Emperor  if  he  will  make  the 
needful  sacrifices,  one  of  which  (and,  indeed,  the  principal 
one)  is  to  give  up  the  alliance  with  the  Empress  of  Russia 
and  make  peace  with  the  Turk.  He  seems  to  suppose 
that  he  may  by  this  means  recover  the  possession  of 
Flanders.  Go  hence  to  Madame  Host's.  A  very  gen 
eral  company  and  excellent  music.  The  salon  is  very 
handsome,  and  decorated  with  valuable  pictures  by 
the  greatest  masters.  French  politics  are  immediately 
broached,  and  I  find  that  they  are  of  the  Orange  party, 
consequently  glad  to  see  the  miseries  which  the  Revolu 
tion  has  brought  upon  France.  I  endeavor  to  show  that 
the  state  of  things  in  France  was  such  as  to  necessitate  a 
change  of  some  sort,  and  although  they  have,  as  is  natural, 
gone  into  an  extreme,  yet  there  is  reason  to  hope  that,  see 
ing  their  error,  they  will  return.  Insensibly  we  come  to 
ward  Holland,  and  in  reply  to  an  observation  of  Madame 
I  observe  that  this  country  appears  to  me  in  a  situation  as 


precarious  as  any  other  in  Europe  ;  that  they  cannot  long 
continue  what  they  now  are,  but  must  descend  of  necessity 
by  the  weight  of  irresistible  circumstances.  This  calls  out 
M.  Bost  (a  man  of  sense  and  information),  and  in  the 
spirit  of  argument  he  communicates  useful  facts,  which 
are  nevertheless  in  confirmation  of  the  opinion  he  com 
bats.  I  tell  him  that  the  individual  wealth  of  the  country 
resulting  from  the  accumulated  interest  of  money  lent  is 
fatal  to  the  public  wealth  ;  that  it  has  from  natural  causes 
banished  manufactures,  and  that  their  agriculture,  circum 
scribed  within  narrow  bounds,  cannot  bear  any  further  im 
positions  ;  consequently  the  revenue  cannot  be  increased. 
And  as  their  commerce,  though  positively  greater  than  in 
the  last  century,  is  comparatively  much  less,  that  source 
of  public  wealth  is  drying  up  the  competition  of  people 
whose  natural  position  gives  them  advantages.  For  the 
commerce  here,  being  that  of  an  intermediary  between 
other  nations,  renders  a  profit  only  to  the  merchant  with 
out  adding  anything  to  the  general  mass.  M.  Bost  in  reply 
to  this  says  that  the  wealth  depending  on  manufactures  is 
not  only  precarious  but  a  felo  de  se,  and  necessarily  de 
structive  of  itself,  because  it  must  so  raise  the  price  of 
labor  as  to  give  to  other  countries  an  advantageous  com 
petition.  He  is  mistaken,  but  I  think  it  best  to  let  him  en 
joy  his  mistake.  Besides,  it  is  time  to  go  to  the  concert. 

"  We  have  very  good  music.  I  ask  an  officer  of  the  navy 
the  state  of  their  army  and  navy.  He  tells  me  they  have 
fifty  ships  of  the  line  and  as  many  frigates  ;  their  army 
consists  of  3,000  infantry  and  2,000  artillery,  and  as  many 
cavalry.  These  last  are  some  of  the  finest  in  Europe.  I 
ask  Mr.  Bost  how  much  the  tax  of  the  twenty-fifth  penny 
yielded  here.  He  tells  me  that  it  produced  in  the  province 
of  Holland  eighty  millions  of  guelders." 

"  The  news  from  France  to-day  [March  6th]  is  that  M. 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  305 

Necker  is  to  go  to  the  Assemblee  and  propose  apian  of 
finance  which  will  put  everything  to  rights,  and  this  they 
seem  to  be  convinced  of.  La  Chaise  had  told  me  last 
evening  that  things  were  going  on  very  badly  in  their 
finances,  and  that  M.  Necker  has  the  jaundice  ;  thus  the 
same  post  brings  very  different  accounts  of  the  same 

"  Go  to  the  exchange  [March  roth],  which  is  a  very 
curious  scene.  Jan  Willinks  takes  me  upstairs  to  a  win 
dow  to  show  it  more  fully.  A  general  meeting,  this,  of 
the  representatives  of  the  earth.  Each  merchant  has  his 
stand,  and  the  brokers,  who  are  as  busy  as  it  is  possible  for 
men  to  be,  keep  constantly  applying  to  them  on  one  sub 
ject  or  another.  Go  to  the  French  Theatre,  and  sit  in  the 
Burgomaster's  box  immediately  behind  Madame  Bost  and 
Madame  Hasselaer.  I  find  that  this  latter  was  acquainted 
at  Spa  with  my  brother,  General  Morris.  She  says  that 
his  wife  is  a  very  amiable  woman.  Learn  the  news  from 
France,  which  is  that  Necker  has  announced  that  he  must 
retire,  and  proposes  to  stop  payment  for  a  year,  also  to 
issue  paper  money  (at  least,  so  says  the  abstract  of  his 
speech).  These,  wild  measures  must  ruin  the  exchange 
and  stocks." 

"  Dine  [March  i3th]  with  W.  Willinks  (enfamille).  Our 
company  consists  of  his  children,  with  their  private  tutors 
and  a  professor,  who  is,  he  says,  a  very  learned  man  ;  also 
a  student  under  that  professor.  By  this  means  we  are  ten 
at  table,  and  Madame  places  me  in  an  arm-chair  at  the  end 
of  it.  She  sits  on  my  right,  and  Monsieur  on  my  left.  Two 
dishes  of  cod,  one  at  each  end,  some  potatoes  in  the  middle, 
the  cod's  liver  boiled  in  one  sauce-boat  and  butter  boiled 
in  the  other,  form  the  first  course.  With  the  aid  of  some 
mustard,  I  take  in  a  sufficient  quantity  of  the  fish  to  be  cov 
ered  against  contingencies.  When  this  service  is  removed, 



the  potatoes  are  replaced  by  a  piece  of  boiled  beef,  and  the 
dish  of  fish  next  me  is  in  like  manner  replaced  by  two 
miserable  chickens,  or  rather  fowls,  whose  sharp  breast 
bones  complain  of  the  fire  by  which  the  little  juice  they 
once  might  boast  of  has  been  dried  away.  A  watery  sauce 
which  surrounds  them  can  but  ill  supply  the  defect  of 
nature  and  the  waste  of  art.  A  flat  pudding  at  the  other 
end,  and  four  plates  of  greasy  vegetables  at  the  corners, 
make  up  this  second  course.  The  dessert  is  a  little  better 
as  to  quantity,  but  the  quality  shows  that  the  principles  of 
a  rigid  economy  have  been  duly  attended  to.  The  wines, 
however,  might  give  that  indigestion  against  which  the 
due  precautions  have  been  taken  in  the  dinner,  but  from 
a  similar  cause,  there  is  little  danger  of  excess.  Some  in 
sipid  Cape  Madeira  figures  in  the  dessert,  with  some  sweet 
wine  which  is  called  White  Cape.  The  conversation  is  like 
the  feast,  and  turns  upon  business.  I  have  but  little  reason 
to  be  satisfied  with  it  ;  however,  time  and  chance  produce 
strange  revolutions  on  this  globe.  We  shall  see." 

"  To-day  [March  i6th]  we  embark  in  M.  Willinks's  yacht 
for  Saardam.  It  is  a  flat-bottomed  vessel,  with  leeboards, 
and  is  broader  in  proportion  to  the  length  than  a  periau- 
ger.  It  is  rigged  sloop-fashion.  At  Saardam  I  am  made 
to  remark  the  old-fashioned  dress,  and  am  struck  with  what 
is  not  pointed  out  ;  viz.,  the  manner  of  arranging  the  hair 
as  I  have  seen  it  in  old  pictures  of  the  time  of  Louis  XIV., 
in  little  ringlets  on  the  forehead.  A  girl  of  about  fifteen, 
with  auburn  locks  in  that  style,  a  clear  complexion,  and 
rosy  cheeks,  looks  like  one  of  the  woodland  nymphs  of 
ancient  poesy.  Another  thing  pointed  out  to  me  is,  I  be 
lieve,  peculiar  to  this  part  of  the  world — a  mortuary  door, 
which  is  never  opened  but  to  take  away  a  corpse." 

"  1  hear  [March  ipth]  that  the  Committee  of  Finance 
have  made  severe  strictures  on  Necker's  plan,  and  repro- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  307 

bated  in  particular  the  idea  of  a  board  of  commissioners 
of  the  treasury,  chosen  from  out  of  the  Assemblee.  They 
recommend  also  a  paper  money,  bearing  interest,  which 
they  think  will  not  depreciate,  and  in  this  I  think  they  are 
very  much  mistaken.  Time  only  can  show  the  worth  of 
that  measure.  The  exchange  in  the  meantime,  and  the 
effets  royaux,  continue  to  fall.  I  go  to  the  older  Madame 
Capadoces,  but  the  young  ladies  of  the  family  are  here. 
Madame  Caton  receives  well  my  advances.  Madame  Sara 
seems  to  have  more  understanding  than  her  sister-in-law. 
She  is  equally  beautiful,  though  in  a  different  style,  and 
has  an  air  moins  lubrique,  but  her  eyes  speak  the  language 
of  that  sentiment  which  warms  and  melts  the  heart.  No 
pulse  but  the  beat  of  delight,  no  sound  but  the  murmur 
of  joy.  Heaven  knoweth  best,  ye  fair  daughters  of  Sion, 
if  ever  it  will  be  my  lot  to  behold  you  again.  All  which 
I  can  do  is  to  raise  some  gentle  prepossessions  not  un 
favorable  to  future  efforts,  should  chance  again  place  me 
within  that  circle  where  you  fill  so  bright  a  space.  I  find 
that  rny  adorations  are  not  illy  received  by  the  fair  Sara, 
and  that  the  delicious  Caton  is  less  pleased  than  she  ex 
pected  at  those  worshippings.  Tant  mieux.  We  retire  after 
one  o'clock,  which  is  not  the  way  to  preserve  health,  I  be 

Morris  left  Amsterdam  on  the  22d,  with  assurances 
from  Mr.  John  Willinks  that  if  it  were  possible  they  would 
effect  his  object  in  regard  to  the  debt  question.  The 
Hague  was  the  next  stopping-place,  and  the  following 
morning,  immediately  after  breakfast,  he  went  to  Scheven- 
ingen,  then  " a  little  fishing-village  "  merely.  "The  road  is 
straight,  level,  and  paved  with  brick.  We  go  directly 
through  the  dunes  or  sand-hills,  which,  viewed  in  their  ex 
tent  northward  along  the  coast,  have  somewhat  the  shape 
and  appearance  of  a  troubled  sea.  A  small  ascent  from 

308  DIARY    AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  XIV. 

Scheveningen  of  five  or  six  feet  presents  to  my  view  the 
German  ocean.  Three  fishing-vessels  lie  on  the  beach. 
Their  leeboards  are  made  of  one  plank  only,  and  are  long ; 
the  vessels  short,  and  by  no  means  clean-built.  They  are 
not  quite  flat-bottomed,  but  nearly  so.  My  guide  tells  me 
that  they  have  a  great  commerce  for  fish.  At  present  they 
are  packing  up  skate  for  Brabant.  Returning,  we  go  to 
the  prince's  cabinet  of  paintings.  There  are  here  several 
very  good  pieces — and  some  indifferent;  a  *  Venus'  and 
an  '  Eve,'  both  by  Rubens.  Dine,  and  depart  for  Rotter 
dam.  Stop  at  Delft  and  visit  two  churches.  In  the  one 
are  the  monuments  of  Van  Tromp  and  another  admiral ; 
in  the  other  church  is  the  monument  of  the  great  Nassau, 
first  Stadtholder,  murdered  in  this  city  by  a  person  whom 
the  Spanish  had'hired  for  the  purpose.  At  the  feet  of  the 
hero  is  represented  his  faithful  dog,  who,  when  his  master 
was  slain,  would  neither  eat  nor  drink,  and  so  perished  in 
affectionate  and  sorrowful  attendance.  Poor,  worthy  creat 
ure  !  In  this  church  is  also  the  monument  of  Grotius. 
Over  the  Stadtholder  are  represented  two  weeping  Cupids, 
but  nothing  can  be  more  ludicrous  than  their  grimaces. 
From  hence  we  proceed  to  Rotterdam,  and  arrive  at  half- 
past  six,  having  been  but  three  hours.  Mr.  Gregory,  I  find, 
has  engaged  a  packet,  and  the  next  morning  [March  24th] 
we  take  a  wagon  and  cross  over  to  Helvoetsluys.  The 
weather  is  very  warm,  the  violets  are  in  full  bloom,  and  I 
pick  up  on  a  slope  of  the  works  which  faces  the  sun  a 
mushroom  very  large,  but  too  old  to  be  eaten.  We  dis 
appoint  our  host  in  not  dining  with  him,  and  in  taking 
one  bottle  only  of  his  wine  for  our  sea-stores.  Set  sail 
with  a  wind  directly  ahead  and  the  tide  almost  done,  con 
sequently  with  but  little  prospect  of  getting  to  sea  this 
evening.  At  low-water  it  falls  calm,  and  we  cast  anchor 
about  two  leagues  below  Helvoet.  Captain  Bridges  seems 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  309 

to  be  a  good-natured,  honest  fellow  ;  his  mate,  with  a  sour 
though  not  sober  countenance,  looks  ineffable  contempt  at 
the  passengers  ;  I  suppose,  because  they  are  not  seamen. 
A  fine  evening  closes  this  day." 

Fifty  hours  after  sailing  Morris  was  landed  safely  at 
Harwich  on  Saturday,  March  27th,  whence  he  proceeded 
immediately  to  London.  "  The  season  here,"  he  says,  "is 
very  far  advanced.  The  primroses,  the  violets,  and  many 
fruit-trees  are  in  full  bloom.  The  rape-seed,  also,  is  in 
blossom.  Arrive  at  five  o'clock  at  Froome's  Hotel,  Covent 
Garden.  Go  to  bed  at  ten  o'clock,  and  am  but  just  fairly 
nestled  there,  when  my  brother,  General  Morris,  arrives. 
My  sister  is  also  at  the  door,  but  does  not  come  in.  The 
object  was  to  take  me  home  to  supper.  Am  to  breakfast 
with  them  at  ten  to-morrow." 

"This  morning  [March  28th],  at  ten,  I  go  to  General 
Morris's.  A  very  sisterly  reception  from  his  lady.  Stay 
and  chat  till  near  twelve,  then  visit  the  Marquis  de  la  Lu- 
zerne,  ambassador  from  France.  He  tells  me  the  news 
from  Paris,  and  in  reply  to  my  question  of  who  is  to  re 
place  Necker,  he  says  that  the  story  of  his  going  away  is 
all  fabricated  by  Calonne.  I  tell  him  that  I  am  persuaded 
that  he  will  quit,  and  that  I  do  not  consider  it  as  a  mis 
fortune.  I  find,  however,  that  he  is  much  an  advocate  of 
M.  Necker  and  his  measures.  This  is  extraordinary,  for 
he  has,  I  think,  good  sense  enough  to  see  the  faults  which 
have  been  committed.  Call  on  the  Duke  of  Leeds,  who  is 
not  at  home  ;  leave  a  card  and  tell  the  porter  I  will  write 
a  note.  Go  to  the  Due  de  Luxembourg's  ;  admitted 
with  difficulty  ;  his  son  receives  the  letter  with  which  I 
am  charged  by  his  brother,  the  Duke  being  in  bed.  Re 
turn  home  ;  write  a  note  to  the  Duke  of  Leeds,  asking  to 
know  the  time  when  it  will  be  most  convenient  for  his 
grace  to  receive  certain  communications  which  Mr.  Morris 


is  desired  to  make  in  a  semi-official  capacity  to  His  Majes 
ty's  ministers  by  the  President  of  the  United  States  of 
America.  Go  to  the  French  ambassador's  to  dinner. 
The  Vicomtesse  says  she  has  a  great  deal  to  say  about  the 
affairs  of  France  when  she  sees  me  with  less  company. 
Return  home,  and  find  a  note  from  the  Duke  of  Leeds, 
giving  me  a  rendez-vous  for  to-morrow  at  half-past  two. 
I  told  the  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne  this  morning  that  I  was 
directed  to  call  on  the  ministry  here  for  a  performance  of 
the  treaty,  and  enjoined  him  to  secrecy.  (He  told  it  every 
where.)  I  think  it  prudent  to  be  in  a  situation  to  say  al 
ways  to  the  French  Court  that  every  step  taken  by  us  has 
been  with  their  privity." 

"  Monday  [March  29th],  at  the  appointed  hour  I  go  to 
Whitehall,  and  communicate  to  the  Duke  of  Leeds*  Wash 
ington's  letter  to  me.  He  expresses  himself  with  some 
warmth  of  approbation.  *  I  am  very  happy,  Mr.  Morris, 
to  see  this  letter,  and  under  the  President's  own  hand.  I 
assure  you  it  is  very  much  my  wish  to  cultivate  a  friendly 
and  commercial  intercourse  between  the  two  countries, 
and  more,  and  I  can  answer  for  the  rest  of  His  Majesty's 
servants  that  they  are  of  the  same  opinion.'  '  I  am  very 
happy,  my  Lord,  to  find  that  such  sentiments  prevail,  for 
we  are  too  near  neighbors  not  to  be  either  very  good 
friends  or  very  dangerous  enemies.'  After  more  profes 
sions  from  him  I  mention  the  points  of  the  treaty  which 
remain  to  be  performed,  and  observe  that,  by  the  Consti- 

*  In  October,  1789,  Washington  wrote  to  Morris,  and  desired  him,  in  "  the 
capacity  of  private  agent  and  on  the  authority  and  credit  of  this  letter,  to  con 
verse  with  His  Britannic  Majesty's  ministers  on  these  points  ;  viz.,  whether 
there  be  any,  and  what  objections  to  performing  those  articles  in  the  treaty 
which  remain  to  be  performed  on  his  part,  and  whether  they  incline  to  a 
treaty  of  commerce  with  the  United  States  on  any,  and  what  terms?  "  The 
office  of  Secretary  of  State  being  at  this  time  unfilled,  Washington,  to  avoid 
delays,  made  this  communication  under  his  own  hand.  This  letter  is  the  one 
referred  to  in  Morris's  interview  with  the  Duke  of  Leeds. 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  311 

tution  of  the  United  States,  which  he  has  certainly  read, 
all  obstacles  to  the  recovery  of  British  debts  are  removed, 
and  that  if  any  doubt  could  have  remained  it  is  now  obvi 
ated  by  the  organization  of  a  Federal  court  which  has  cog 
nizance  of  all  causes  arising  under  the  treaty.  He  is  very 
happy  to  receive  this  information.  I  then  mention  that  I 
believe  there  are  two  points  which  remain  to  be  fulfilled 
on  their  part  :  viz.,  as  to  the  Posts  and  compensation  for 
negroes  taken  away ;  that  perhaps,  as  to  the  first,  they  may 
have  sent  out  orders  since  the  President's  letter  was  writ 
ten.  He  does  not  exactly  know  the  situation.  As  to  the 
last,  he  had  long  wished  that  something  had  been  done, 
but  something  or  another  had  always  interfered.  He 
changed  the  conversation,  which  I  bring  back,  and  which 
he  changes  again.  It  is  evident,  therefore,  that  he  is  at 
present  confined  to  general  assurances.  I  tell  him  that 
there  was  a  little  circumstance  which  operated  very  disa 
greeably  in  America.  He  interrupts  me  :  '  I  know  what 
you  are  going  to  speak  about,  our  not  sending  out  a  min 
ister.  I  wished  to  send  you  one,  but  then  I  wished  to 
have  a  man  everyway  equal  to  the  task,  a  man  of  abilities, 
and  one  agreeable  to  the  people  of  America,  but  it  was 
difficult;  it  is  a  great  way  off.'  'My  Lord,  you  cannot 
want  men  well  qualified,  and  I  am  certain  that  there  are 
many  who  will  be  glad  to  accept  it.'  He  again  changes 
the  conversation.  I  therefore  observe  that  he  will  prob 
ably  choose  to  consider  this  matter  a  little,  and  to  examine 
the  American  Constitution,  the  treaty  of  peace,  etc.  He 
says  that  he  should.  I  tell  him  that  I  shall  be  glad  to 
receive  his  answer  as  speedily  as  may  be.  He  promises 
despatch.  In  the  course  of  the  conversation  he  mentioned 
a  letter  he  had  written  to  Mr.  Adams,  in  which  he  ex 
pressed  the  opinion  that  the  performance  of  the  treaty 
should  be  article  by  article,  as  they  stood  in  order.  I  re- 


ply  that  my  private  opinion  had  always  been  that  it  would 
be  proper  for  us  to  execute  the  treaty  fully  on  our  part, 
and  then  call  for  execution  by  them,  for  that  if  each  were 
to  delay  until  the  other  should  act,  all  treaties  would  be 
illusory.  He  agreed  in  the  propriety  of  the  observation. 
I  left  [Washington's]  letter  with  him,  which  he  is  to  have 
copied  and  returned." 

"Mr.  Church  engages  me  to  dine  with  him  on  Friday 
[March  3oth],  enfamille.  He  goes  to  find  Charles  Fox  and 
ask  him  to  meet  me." 

The  following  sprightly  society  letter  Morris  de 
spatched  to  Mr.  Short  at  Paris,  to  be  by  him  shown  to 
the  disconsolate  fair  ones  he  had  left  behind,  and  who 
complained  of  his  silence.  "Place  me  before  them  grace 
fully,"  he  wrote,  "and  assure  them  that  they  can  at  least 
own  that  it  is  only  in  my  absence  that  such  complaints  can 
have  any  foundation.  But  truth  is  that  I  did  not  like  to 
write  through  Flanders,  because  the  government  are  by 
no  means  deficient  in  curiosity  and  not  over-delicate  in 
the  means  of  satisfying  it.  I  hereby  authorize  you,  how 
ever,  to  say  for  me  all  which  I  ought  to  say  and  to  do  all 
which  I  ought  to  do.  I  would  deputize  you  to  the  hand 
ling  of  Madame  de  C 's  tea-pot,  but,  since  everything 

now  goes  by  election,  I  cannot  hazard  such  encroachment 
upon  the  droits  de  r/iomme.  Be  persuaded,  however,  of  my 
perfectly  good  wishes  that  you  may  be  found  worthy  to 
fill  the  department.  You  will  lay  me  at  the  feet  of  her 
R.  H.  Happy  position  !  there  to  kneel  and  there  adore. 
Assure  her  of  my  lowliest  worshippings.  To  the  charm 
ing  Comtesse  de  S ,  try  to  say  what  I  have  often  felt 

but  could  never  express.  In  Madame  d'H — det — t's  cir 
cle,  give  every  assurance  which  may  be  proper ;  I  hold 
myself  bound  in  honor  not  to  belie  you.  Madame  de  La- 
b will,  I  hope,  always  believe  in  my  respectful  ad- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  313 

miration.  You  will  see  then  Madame  de  F ,  to  whom 

present  my  remembrances.  Supply  on  every  occasion 
my  omissions,  and  command  me  under  similar  circum 
stances.  I  will  obey  as  well  as  I  can." 

"  The  French  ambassador  tells  rne  the  news  from  Paris 
to-day  [April  ist]  at  dinner.  Things  are  going  on  badly. 
The  Assembly  have  reiterated  to  the  King  their  refusal  to 
comply  with  his  wish  to  choose  a  treasury  board  out  of 
their  body.  The  pointed  opposition  to  M.  Necker  be 
comes  now  manifest.  He  seems  much  affected  by  the  situ 
ation  of  things,  and  tells  me  that  within  the  last  six  months 
they  have  done  much  evil,  in  which  sentiment  I  cordially 
agree.  The  Duchesse  de  Biron  is  here  and  Madame  de 
Boufflers,  to  which  last  I  present  remembrances  from  the 
Marechal  de  Segur,  but  I  believe  I  have  mistaken  the  per 
son  who  gave  me  that  commission." 

"Visit  Sir  John  Sinclair  [April  4th],  from  whom  I  re 
ceived  a  note  last  evening  requesting  it.  Various  conver 
sation.  Just  before  I  come  away  I  ask  him  whether  they 
have  made  any  alteration  in  their  American  trade  bill  and 
intercourse  bill.  He  says  they  have  not.  I  ask  what  are 
their  intentions  on  that  subject.  He  says  they  are  of 
opinion  that  trade  can  best  regulate  itself.  I  smile,  and  tell 
him  that  I  am  very  much  of  the  same  opinion,  but  that  con 
sistently  with  it  we  should  abstain  from  all  restrictions." 

Almost  as  a  Frenchman  Morris  mourned  over  the  con 
dition  of  France,  as  he  saw  how  feeble  her  men  were, 
how  little  fitted  for  the  task  suddenly  imposed  upon  them. 
In  the  following  letters  to  Colonel  Ternant  and  Mr.  Short, 
who  were  both  in  Paris,  he  expresses  his  feelings  very 
forcibly.  "The  present  moment,"  he  wrote  to  Colonel 
Ternant,  "teems  with  great  events.  Would  to  God  that, 
in  a  certain  city  which  you  have  sometimes  seen,  there 
were  great  men  established  to  meet  with  proper  dignity 


the  greatness  of  those  incidents  which  will  be  hourly  pro 
duced."  And  later,  writing  to  Mr.  Short,  he  says  :  "I  have 
very  little  doubt  in  my  mind  either  as  to  the  progress  or 
event  of  things  in  France.  Early  in  July  I  formed  event 
ual  opinions,  and  events  in  August  and  early  in  Septem 
ber  rendered  them  absolute.  Hitherto  facts  have  shown 
them  to  be  just.  If  the  two  hundred  millions  given  to  the 
municipality  of  Paris  were  what  they  are  supposed  to  be, 
value t  the  consequences  you  fear  might  take  effect,  but  they 
are  among  those  things  whose  ultimate  basis  resolves  itself 
into  opinion,  and  opinion  cannot  be  restored  until  they 
shall  have  undone  much  of  what  they  have  done,  and  done 
many  things  of  different  complexion.  Among  those  who 
are  now  at  the  helm  there  is  neither  the  mind  to  conceive, 
the  heart  to  dare,  nor  the  hand  to  execute  such  things. 
They  will  therefore  continue  to  pile  up  system  upon  sys 
tem,  without  advancing  one  inch.  The  dreadful  primeval 
curse  is  repeated  upon  them  all.  Paper  thou  art,  and  unto 
paper  shalt  thou  return.  I  deeply  bemoan  these  things, 
for  I  love  France  sincerely.  ...  It  was  not  from 
what  I  found  in  Amsterdam  that  I  was  deterred  from 
pursuing  the  propositions  to  M.  Necker,  but  the  convic 
tion  that  his  expectations  have  been  so  raised  as  to  shut 
his  ears  to  anything  which  could  with  safety  be  proposed, 
and  I  have  not  enough  of  the  knight-errant  in  my  com 
position  to  go  beyond  that  line." 

"  If  I  am  not  mistaken,"  the  diary  continues,  "  it  will  be 
proper  to  be  intimate  at  the  French  ambassador's,  to  a 
certain  point.  At  dinner  to-day  we  have  a  long  conversa 
tion  on  the  state  of  French  politics.  He  tells  me  that  he 
thinks  Lafayette  and  M.  Necker  ought  to  coalesce,  as  the 
only  means  of  saving  France.  I  tell  him  that  his  idea 
may  be  good,  but  I  am  sure  it  will  not  take  effect.  He 
asks  if  Mr.  Jefferson  was  not  much  consulted  in  the  be- 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  315 

ginning  of  the  Revolution.  I  tell  him  that  I  believe  he 
was,  and  fear  that  his  ideas  were  in  many  respects  too 
democratical.  He  speaks  of  Jefferson  with  much  con 
tempt  as  a  statesman  and  as  one  who  is  better  formed  for 
the  interior  of  Virginia  than  to  influence  the  operations 
of  a  great  people.  I  own  that  I  am  rather  surprised  at 
this  sentiment,  because  Mr.  Jefferson  has  in  general  ex 
cited  favorable  ideas  of  his  intellectual  faculties.  Go 
from  hence  to  Mrs.  Low's  rout ;  a  number  of  Americans 
there.  Among  the  guests  is  Mrs.  Mallet,  who  still  looks 
toward  triumph,  and  has  a  less  unnatural  manner  than 
she  had  about  fifteen  years  ago.  She  seems  not  unwilling 
to  extend  her  dominion,  but  this  will  not  do  for  me." 

"A  pretty  numerous  company  at  Sir  John  Sinclair's  to 
day  [April  pth]  at  dinner — chiefly  literati,  I  believe.  A 
Mr.  Irwin  of  the  customs,  a  statesman,  is,  I  find,  decidedly 
opposed  to  America,  and  he  is,  if  an  enemy,  a  dangerous 
one,  because  he  can  always  produce  just  such  matter  as  he 
pleases.  At  present  his  hobby-horse  is  to  force  the  people 
of  this  island,  even  by  starvation,  to  raise  as  much  corn  as 
they  want.  I  foolishly  enter  into  a  little  argument  with 
him  on  that  subject;  'twould  have  been  better  to  let  him 
enjoy  his  opinions,  and  to  inculcate  them.  What  I  say  turns 
upon  the  point  that  the  labor  applied  to  husbandry  cannot 
so  certainly  insure  its  object  as  that  employed  upon  manu 
factures.  The  favorable  or  unfavorable  season  will  de 
cide  on  the  harvest,  in  spite  of  all  human  endeavors." 

"Mr.  R.  Penn  tells  me  [April  nth]  that  he  thinks  it 
probable  I  shall  be  appointed  minister  to  this  Court.  I 
tell  him  that  if  I  express  an  opinion,  it  will  be  not  to  ap 
point  a  minister.  He  expresses  his  surprise  at  this  senti 
ment,  which  I  justify  on  the  ground  that  their  present 
rulers  do  not  wish  to  form  a  connection  with  America. 
Go  from  hence  to  Mr.  Church's.  They  are  just  got  back ; 


he  is  from  Newmarket,  where  he  has  lost  money.  I  prom 
ise  to  meet  Charles  Fox  at  dinner  on  Saturday.  Visit 
Lady  Tancred.  She  seems  more  indebted  for  her  beauties 
to  art  than  I  had  imagined  at  the  first  view.  I  learn  that 
she  is  sister  to  my  old  friend  General  Montgomery." 

"  General  Morris  calls  on  me  this  morning  [April  i6th] 
to  inform  me  of  a  mechanic  who  can  make  wooden  legs 
very  well.  I  desire  that  he  may  call  on  me  to-morrow. 
At  half-past  two  Mr.  Penn  calls,  and  dines.  We  then  go 
down  to  the  House  of  Commons.  He  endeavors  to  pro 
cure  admission  for  me  under  the  galleries  as  a  foreigner, 
which  the  speaker  refuses,  because  I  have  not  been  pre 
sented  at  Court.  Madame  de  la  Luzerne  showed  me  this 
evening  a  letter  from  her  mother,  or  mother-in-law,  men 
tioning  that  M.  Necker  was  to  be  denounced  to  the  Na 
tional  Assembly,  and  that  both  parties  are  violent  against 
him.  She  tells  me  also  that  Lafayette  is  opposed  to  him. 
This  I  knew  before,  but  appeared  not  to  know  it,  and  even 
endeavored  to  account  for  it  on  a  supposition  that  they 
may  have  differed  lately  about  the  taking  of  a  board  of 
treasury  out  of  the  National  Assembly.  My  friend  the 
Marquis  de  la  Luzerne  is  violently  opposed,  I  find,  to  the 
Assembly,  but  in  favor  of  M.  Necker.  Return  home  be 
tween  twelve  and  one,  and  sit  some  time  reading  the  livre 
rouge  which  M.  Barthelemi  gave  me  the  perusal  of  this 

"This  morning  [April  iyth]  after  breakfast  a  mechanic 
arrives  who  is  to  make  a  leg.  Upon  examination  of  the 
stump  he  says  that  I  shall  be  able  to  take  the  benefit  of 
the  knee-joint.  If  this  be  so  it  will  certainly  be  an  im 
provement,  but  he  acknowledges  that  the  machinery  will 
be  less  solid  than  the  simple  stick  which  I  now  use." 
Morris  met  Charles  James  Fox  at  dinner  this  evening  at 
Mr.  Church's.  "Mr.  Fox,"  he  says,  "does  not  arrive  till 


seven.  He  has  been  detained  by  the  Duke  of  York.  We 
sat  pretty  late  after  dinner,  and  I  observe  that  Mr.  Fox 
scrutinizes  me  closely  to  see  what  I  am.  I  give  him  all 
opportunity  for  that  purpose.  His  manners  are  simple. 
He  speaks  lightly  of  Chatham,  who,  says  he,  was  a  fortu 
nate  man,  and  that  the  successes  in  the  war  were  to  be  attrib 
uted  to  a  measure  of  his  father's,  which  was  the  capture 
of  the  French  ships  and  seamen  before  the  Declaration  ;  I 
observe  that  it  was  also  to  be  attributed  to  the  great  force 
sent  out  to  America  by  Lord  Chatham.  In  the  course  of 
conversation  I  ask  him  what  system  the  present  adminis 
tration  have  with  respect  to  America.  He  says  that  he 
thinks  they  have  not  as  yet  adopted  any ;  that  he  does  not 
imagine  Mr.  Pitt  will  take  any  trouble  about  the  matter, 
but  will  leave  it  to  Lord  Hawkesbury  and  Mr.  Grenville, 
who  are  both  of  them  indisposed  to  us,  whereas  Pitt  him 
self  is  rather  friendly  than  otherwise.  I  ask  him  the  char 
acter  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds.  He  speaks  of  him  contemptu 
ously,  but  says  he  takes  upon  himself  a  little  lately.  He 
says  that  he  and  Burke  are  now  almost  alone  in  their 
opinion  that  we  should  be  permitted  to  trade  in  our  own 
bottoms  to  their  islands ;  that  this  opinion  loses  ground 
daily,  though  for  his  part  he  persists  in  it.  I  tell  him  that 
it  is  a  solid  principle  of  policy,  for  that  our  position  ren 
ders  the  islands  so  materially  dependent  on  us  that  they 
should  make  it  our  interest  to  keep  them  in  possession  ; 
that  further,  if  we  choose  to  lay  them  under  disadvan 
tages  in  our  ports,  we  can  materially  injure  their  naviga 
tion,  whereas  the  admission  of  our  vessels  into  their  isl 
ands  can  do  them  no  harm  in  that  respect.  All  this  is 
true,  but  I  suspect  that  we  shall  be  obliged  in  America  to 
give  them  the  conviction  of  their  senses." 

"  This    morning    [April    2oth]    I   go  immediately  after 
breakfast  to  a  leg-maker  and  have  my  right  leg  taken  in 

318  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  XIV. 

plaster  of  Paris,  as  a  model  by  which  to  make  the  left  leg 
of  copper.  By  the  awkwardness  of  the  workman  I  am 
long  detained,  and  obliged  to  have  a  second  copy  made  ; 
in  fact,  he  has  not  one  needful  thing,  which  is  a  box  for 
taking  the  model  by.  Get  a  model  made  of  the  stump 
also,  so  as  to  prevent  the  necessity  of  frequent  sittings  to 
have  the  cushions  fitted.  I  am  detained  under  these  op 
erations  until  after  four  o'clock.  Dress,  and  go  to  the 
French  ambassador's  to  dine.  A  young  gentleman  is 
there  who  I  have  often  seen  at  the  Baron  de  Besenval's. 
He  is  just  arrived  ;  he  came  in  company  with  Mr.  Crosby. 
That  circle  are  all  in  good  health.  I  find  that  the  debates 
have  been  very  outrageous  in  Paris,  and  things  seem  to  be 
verging  fast  towards  change." 

"  To-day  [April  23d]  I  dine  with  my  brother,  General 
Morris.  The  company  are  a  Lady  Cundliffe,  with  her 
daughters,  Mrs.  Drummond  Smith  and  Miss  Cundliffe  ; 
the  Marquis  of  Huntly,  Lord  Eglinton,  General  Murry, 
Mr.  Drummond  Smith  (who,  they  tell  me,  is  one  of  the 
richest  commoners  in  England),  and  Colonel  Morrison  of 
the  Guards.  After  dinner  there  is  a  great  deal  of  com 
pany  collected  in  the  drawing-room,  to  some  of  whom  I 
am  presented  ;  the  Ladies  Hays,  who  are  very  handsome, 
Lady  Tancred  and  her  sister,  and  Miss  Byron  are  here, 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Montresor.  I  am  particularly  presented 
to  Colonel  Morrison,  who  is  the  quartermaster-general 
of  this  kingdom,  and  whose  daughter  also  is  here.  She 
has  a  fine,  expressive  countenance,  and  is,  they  tell  me, 
of  such  a  romantic  turn  of  mind  as  to  have  refused 
many  good  offers  of  marriage  because  she  did  not  like  the 
men.  I  have  some  little  conversation  with  Mrs.  Smith 
after  dinner.  She  appears  to  have  good  dispositions  for 
making  a  friendly  connection,  as  far  as  one  may  venture  to 
judge  by  the  glance  of  the  eye.  Visit  Mrs.  Cosway,  and 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  319 

find  here  Lady  Townsend,  with  her  daughter-in-law  and 
daughter.  The  conversation  here  (as,  indeed,  everywhere 
else)  turns  on  the  man  (or  rather  monster)  who  for  several 
days  past  has  amused  himself  with  cutting  and  wounding 
women  in  the  streets.  One  unhappy  victim  of  his  in 
human  rage  is  dead.  Go  from  hence  to  Drury  Lane  Thea 
tre.  The  pieces  we  went  to  see  were  not  acted,  but  in 
stead,  'Twelfth  Night'  and  'The  Spoiled  Child.'  This 
last  is  said  to  have  been  written  by  Mrs.  Jordan.  She 
plays  excellently  in  it,  and  so,  indeed,  she  does  in  the  prin 
cipal  piece." 

"  Two  tickets  have  been  given  me  for  the  trial  of  Warren 
Hastings.  Call  upon  La  Caze  [April  29th],  and  take  him 
with  me.  We  wait  till  past  two  before  the  Lords  come 
down,  and  then,  after  a  decision  against  the  managers  upon 
a  former  question,  much  time  is  consumed  in  complaint 
against  that  decision.  A  witness  being  then  called  up 
and  a  question  proposed  to  him,  an  objection  is  raised  by 
the  counsel  as  being  within  the  decision  just  delivered.  A 
long  argument  on  this  subject  from  the  managers,  which 
the  counsel  very  properly  reply  to  by  their  silence,  and,  the 
opinion  of  the  Lords  being  clear,  the  question  is  given  up 
without  a  formal  declaration  of  that  opinion.  Shortly 
after,  another  question  is  proposed  to  the  witness,  which  is 
objected  to,  and  hereupon  arises  a  serious  argument.  The 
speakers  this  day  are  Burke  and  Fox.  The  former  has 
quickness  and  genius,  but  he  is  vague,  loose,  desultory, 
and  confused.  Mr.  Fox  has  not  the  needful  self-possession 
to  make  a  great  speaker.  He  is  obliged  to  abstract  him 
self  so  much  in  pursuit  of  the  matter  that  he  is  extremely 
deficient  in  manner.  He  is  a  slovenly  speaker,  but  he  is 
acute  and  discerns  well.  He  does  not  sufficiently  convey 
to  others  the  distinctions  which  he  feels  ;  his  mind  appears 
like  a  clouded  sun,  and  this  I  believe  results  from  the  life 


he  leads.  Temperance,  application,  and  the  possession  of 
competence  with  moderation  to  enjoy  it,  would  render 
him  very  great,  if  unhappily  his  faculties  be  not  at  that 
point  when  a  continuation  of  former  habits  becomes  neces 
sary  to  keep  them  alive.  Go  to  my  lodgings  and  dress, 
read  my  letters,  and  then  (but  with  no  proper  emotions  for 
that  scene)  go  to  Mrs.  Church's  ball.  Things  here  are 
really  magnificent  and  well  conducted.  The  royal  broth 
ers  and  Mrs.  Fitzherbert  are  among  the  guests.  The  Duke 
of  Orleans  also  is  here,  with  whom  I  exchange  a  few  words, 
and  converse  a  good  deal  with  his  two  brothers,  just  arrived 
from  Paris.  See  Mrs.  Darner  and  several  other  people 
whom  I  had  before  seen.  On  the  whole,  the  manner  of 
these  persons  is  very  well,  considering  the  haughty  cold 
ness  of  the  nation  and  that  I  am  an  American.  Stay  till 
after  three,  and  then  take  Mr.  Low  home.  When  I  get 
home  it  is  broad  daylight." 



Reticence  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds.  Morris's  letter  to  the  duke.  Letter  to 
Washington.  Undertakes  to  negotiate  for  the  sale  of  American  es 
tates.  Miss  Farren.  The  impressment  of  American  seamen.  In 
terview  with  the  Duke  of  Leeds.  Presented  to  Pitt.  Long  interview 
with  Pitt  and  the  Duke  of  Leeds  relative  to  the  treaty  of  commerce, 
non-payment  of  money  due  by  the  English  Government  to  American 
land-owners,  evacuation  of  the  frontier-posts,  etc.  The  Hastings 
trial.  News  from  Paris.  The  National  Assembly  vote  the  king  an 
allowance.  Abolition  of  the  nobility.  The  Duke  of  Orleans  in  a 
"  whimsical  "  situation.  Great  fete  of  the  federation.  Letter  to  Wil 
liam  Short  at  Paris.  Strictures  on  the  young  men  of  London.  Rise 
of  the  Jacobins  in  Paris.  Lafayette's  position  insecure. 

IT  was  now  late  in  April,  and  still  the  Duke  of  Leeds 
maintained  a  profound  silence  upon  the  subject  of 
the  conversation  Morris  had  held  with  him,  nor  had 
he  returned  the  copy  of  the  President's  letter.  "  I  am 
still  waiting,"  Morris  wrote  to  Washington  on  the  28th, 
"for  intelligence  from  the  ministers,  who  (to  judge  by 
appearances)  slumber  profoundly  upon  the  application 
made  to  them.  It  was  not  until  the  28th  of  April,  and 
after  several  notes  had  been  sent  to  jog  his  memory,  that 
the  duke  consented  to  notice  Morris  or  his  affairs.  He 
then  pleaded  indisposition  as  the  excuse  for  his  long 

Morris  in  his  reply  [April  3oth]  expressed  himself  as 
happy  to  receive  from  such  "  respectable  authority"  the 
sincere  wish  of  England  to  fulfil  her  engagements  with 
the  United  States  "in  a  manner  consistent  with  the  most 
scrupulous  fidelity  ; "  though  this  had  never  admitted  of 


322  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

question  in  his  mind,  and  he  assured  his  grace  of  his  con 
viction  of  the  determination  of  the  United  States  to  per 
form  in  the  fullest  manner  every  stipulation  which  they 
had  made.  He  entreated  of  his  grace's  goodness  to  inform 
him  in  what  respect,  and  to  what  degree,  lie  considered  the 
final  completion  of  those  engagements  to  which  the  United 
States  were  bound  as  having  been  rendered  impracticable, 
this  being  to  him  a  new  idea.  He  further  asked  his  grace 
the  nature  and  extent  of  the  redress  expected  for  British 
subjects  upon  the  specific  points  of  the  treaty.  On  the 
subject  of  a  commercial  treaty  between  the  countries, 
Morris  expressed  a  sincere  hope  that  he  might  be  mistaken 
in  supposing  that  his  grace  showed  a  disinclination  to  se 
curing  an  amiable  intercourse  by  the  force  of  a  treaty,  and 
assured  him  how  unhappy  he  should  be  to  convey  a  false 
impression  on  this  subject,  which  might  be  prejudicial  to 
both  countries.  He  begged,  therefore,  that  he  might  be 
set  right. 

The  following  letter  to  Washington  was  sent,  with 
Morris's  full  reply  to  the  Duke  of  Leeds,  of  which  a  sum 
mary  only  is  given  above.  "I  must  rely,"  he  wrote,  "on 
your  kindness  both  to  interpret  favorably  what  I  have 
done,  and  to  excuse  my  omissions.  I  thought  it  best  to 
heap  coals  of  fire  on  their  heads,  and  thereby  either  bring 
them  into  our  views  or  put  them  most  eminently  in  the 
wrong.  It  was,  moreover,  my  wish  to  draw  forth  specific 
propositions,  because  these  will  admit  of  discussion,  or  else, 
if  manifestly  unjust,  they  can  not  only  be  repelled,  but  they 
will  serve  to  show  a  predetermined  breach  of  faith  by  them 
which  will  justify  whatever  conduct  we  may  afterwards  find 
it  proper  to  adopt.  I  have  some  reason  to  believe  that 
the  present  administration  intends  to  keep  the  posts  and 
withhold  payment  for  the  negroes.  If  so,  they  will  cover 
their  breach  of  faith  by  the  best  pretexts  in  their  power. 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR  MORRIS.  323 

I  incline  to  think  also  that  they  consider  a  treaty  of  com 
merce  with  America  as  being  absolutely  unnecessary,  and 
that  they  are  persuaded  they  shall  derive  all  benefit  from 
our  trade  without  treaty.  In  the  matter  of  treaties  very 
much  will,  I  think,  depend  upon  the  situation  of  France. 
From  the  conduct  of  the  aristocratic  hierarchy  in  the  Low 
Countries,  who  are  instigated  and  supported  by  Prussia, 
I  have  long  been  thoroughly  convinced  that  the  alternative 
of  war  or  the  most  ignominious  terms  of  peace  would  be 
proposed  to  the  Imperial  Courts.  Counting  upon  the  ab 
solute  nullity  of  France,  and  supposing  that  this  country 
can  at  any  moment  intimidate  that  into  abject  submission, 
Prussia  and  Poland  will,  I  think,  join  themselves  to  Tur 
key  and  Sweden  against  Russia  and  Austria,  which  are 
both  exhausted  and  one  of  them  dismembered.  Probably 
the  war  will  be  commenced  before  the  letter  reaches  your 
hands,  and  then  Britain  and  Holland  are  to  be  the  umpires 
or,  rather,  dictators  of  peace.  Perhaps  there  never  was  a 
moment  in  which  this  country  found  herself  greater,  and 
consequently  it  is  the  most  unfavorable  moment  to  obtain 
advantageous  terms  from  her  in  any  bargain.  It  appears 
clearly  that  the  favorable  moment  for  us  to  treat  is  not  yet 
come.  It  is  indeed  the  moment  for  this  country,  and  they 
seem  determined  to  let  it  pass  away." 

"This  afternoon  [May  2d],  at  the  poets'  gallery  of  paint 
ings,  I  have  pointed  out  to  me  Lord  Derby  and  Miss  Far- 
ren,  who  are  to  be  married  as  soon  as  Lady  Derby  will 
make  her  exit.  Miss  Farren  is  one  of  the  Drury  Lane 
company  of  comedians." 

One  of  the  most  arduous  of  Morris's  undertakings  for 
his  friends  in  America  was  to  negotiate  in  London  and 
Paris  for  the  sale  of  their  respective  estates,  in  various 
parts  of  the  United  States.  There  was,  of  course,  a  general 
feeling  of  distrust  of  a  country  so  far  away  and  so  uncul- 

324  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

tivated,  and  a  desire  to  be  thoroughly  indemnified  for 
losses.  Writing  to  Robert  Morris  of  the  difficulties  he  en 
countered  in  this  effort,  he  says  :  "  What  can  I  offer  those 
who  may  wish  to  purchase  ?  Money  I  have  not.  Personal 
security  in  this  country  I  have  not.  In  America  they  will 
not  take  it,  and  if  I  propose  a  mortgage  of  the  premises 
they  may  reply  that  these  they  have  already.  As  to  the 
Fairfax  estate,  it  is  somewhat  differently  circumstanced, 
but  even  respecting  it,  I  expect  that  if  I  can  see  and  con 
verse  with  Mr.  Martin,  he  will  insist  on  security  here."  * 
As  in  Paris,  so  more  or  less  in  London,  Morris's  ad 
vice  was  constantly  asked  about  purchases  in  America,  but 
he  found  it  extremely  difficult  to  bring  anyone  to  the 
point  of  a  purchase. 

"  Sir  John  Miller  is  at  Mr.  Wilmots'  to-night  [May  5th], 
and  he  tells  me  that  great  fortunes  have  been  made  by 
borrowing  money  and  purchasing  estates  in  Ireland,  which 
yield  an  interest  of  five  percent,  upon  the  purchase  money 
till  the  old  leases  fall  in,  and  then  yield  twice  and  three 
times  as  much.  He  has  himself  speculated  in  this  way  to 
the  amount  of  ^20,000.  In  conversation  he  describes  the 

*  The  effort  to  purchase  Fairfax  lands  was  simply  a  speculation  on  Mor 
ris's  part.  It  was  after  the  death  of  the  sixth  Lord  Fairfax,  the  recluse  of 
Greenway  Court  in  Virginia,  when  the  State  of  Virginia  had  passed  acts  of 
confiscation  of  all  his  lordship's  lands,  as  well  as  of  his  lord  proprietorship. 
The  acts  recited  that  the  confiscation  was  made  because  the  title  to  them 
had  descended  to  an  alien  enemy,  his  brother  Robert,  the  seventh  lord. 
Afterward  it  was  insisted  that  the  title  of  the  Fairfax  heirs  in  the  lands  which 
the  sixth  Lord  Fairfax  had  appropriated  to  himself  in  severalty,  either  by 
deeds  made  to  himself  as  lord  proprietor,  or  by  surveys  or  other  acts,  indi 
cating  his  intention  to  appropriate  them  to  himself  individually,  should  be 
allowed  by  the  State,  which  was  done  by  an  act  of  legislature,  procured  to 
be  passed  by  John  Marshall,  afterward  chief  justice,  and  who  had  himself  be 
come  a  purchaser  of  a  considerable  tract  of  these  lands.  After  that  act  of 
legislature  was  passed,  Dr.  Denny  Martin  Fairfax,  of  Leeds  Castle,  nephew 
of  the  sixth  lord,  sold  all  of  those  lands  which  had  not  been  previously  sold. 
In  1789  Robert,  seventh  Lord  Fairfax,  was  still  alive.  There  was  no  Conclu 
sion  arrived  at  in  the  negotiation  in  which  Morris  was  interested. 


situation  of  a  gentleman  in  the  country  here  as  far  from 
agreeable,  if  he  resides  anywhere  in  the  neighborhood  of 
a  peer  or  a  great  commoner,  '  because,'  says  he,  '  such  per 
son  must  either  be  the  humble  servant  of  the  great  man  or 
must  be  borne  down  by  his  opposition,  in  all  parish  and 
county  meetings  and  in  everything  which  relates  to  the 
roads.'  To-night,  when  I  come  in,  I  find  on  my  table  an  in 
vitation  from  Mrs.  Church  to  breakfast  to-morrow  at  twelve. 
I  write  the  following  answer  : 

Dear  Madame,  believe  me,  'tis  not  without  sorrow 

I  do  not  partake  of  your  breakfast  to-morrow  ; 

So  kind  a  request  it  is  hard  to  refuse, 

But  an  envious  Demon  my  pleasures  pursues, 

Resolved,  with  the  blasts  of  cold  duty,  to  blight 

The  blossoms  of  joy  and  the  buds  of  delight. 

To-morrow,  laborious,  I  write  all  the  day, 

To  friends  who  are  far  o'er  the  water  away, 

Who  dwell  on  that  soil  to  your  bosom  so  dear, 

Which  so  oft  from  your  eye  draws  the  filial  tear  ; 

That  dear  natal  soil,  Freedom's  favorite  child, 

Where  bliss  flows  spontaneous  and  virtue  grows  wild, 

Where  nature,  disdaining  the  efforts  of  art, 

Gives  grace  to  the  form  and  gives  worth  to  the  heart. 

In  plain  prose,  the  packet  sails  to-morrow  night  and  I 
must  write.' " 

"  Dine  to-day  [May  6th]  with  the  French  ambassador. 
When  dinner  is  half  over  two  of  his  family  come  in  from 
the  House  of  Commons,  where  the  debate  was  animated, 
although  they  were  all  of  one  mind.  The  address  has  been 
carried  unanimously,  and  a  determination  is  avowed  to  ob 
tain  from  the  Spanish  Court  an  acknowledgment  that 
they  are  entitled  to  no  part  of  America  but  such  as  they 
occupy.  After  dinner,  attend  Mrs.  Penn  to  the  play. 
Henry  the  Fifth  is  acted  very  badly,  and  with  great  ap 
plause.  The  monarch  makes  great  exertion  '  to  split  the 


ears  of  the  groundlings.'  A  translation  of  the  '  Marriage 
of  Figaro '  is  very  well  done  by  the  intended  wife  of  Lord 
Derby,  Miss  Farren. ,  She  is  said  to  be  perfectly  chaste, 
and  his  lordship,  I  suppose,  is  satisfied  on  that  subject,  but 
the  caresses  of  the  stage  are  not  exactly  what  one  would 
wish  to  be  exhibited  on  one's  intended  bride." 

"  This  morning  [May  i3th]  M.  Bourgainville,  one  of  La 
fayette's  aides-de-camp,  comes  in.  I  read  to  him  my  let 
ter  to  his  General  and  to  Carmichael,  and  explain  as  fully 
as  conversation  could  permit  my  plan  for  carrying  on  a  war 
against  this  country.  He  is  to  write  to  M.  de  Lafayette 
to-morrow  for  permission  to  pass  over  for  a  few  days  to 
Paris.  I  give  him  also  some  ideas  upon  the  constitution 
which  they  are  now  forming,  and  read  an  essay  written  on 
it  last  summer  which  contains  many  predictions  since  veri 
fied.  He  tells  me  that  he  is  an  advocate  for  a  single  cham 
ber,  but  that  my  objections  against  that  form  are  strong." 

Morris  had  been  several  times  applied  to,  to  take  some 
steps  in  regard  to  the  American  seamen  impressed  into 
the  British  service,  and  he  prepared  a  short  memorial  on 
the  subject,  which  was  sent  to  the  Lords  of  the  Admi 
ralty.  Being  strongly  convinced  of  the  necessity  of  more 
action  in  the  matter,  in  consequence  of  the  cases  brought 
to  his  notice,  he  determined,  if  possible,  to  see  the  Duke  of 
Leeds  on  the  subject. 

He  therefore  requested  an  interview,  which  was  granted 
for  the  2oth  of  May,  and  which  the  diary  describes  as  fol 
lows  :  "  I  stay  but  a  short  time  with  his  grace  the  Duke 
of  Leeds.  He  apologizes  for  not  having  answered  my  let 
ters.  I  tell  him  that  I  suppose  he  has  been  so  much  en 
gaged  in  other  affairs  that  he  has  not  had  time.  He  says 
I  misunderstood  one  part  of  his  letter  to  me,  for  that  he 
certainly  meant  to  express  a  willingness  to  enter  into  a 
treaty  of  commerce.  To  this  I  reply  that  my  present  ob- 

1790]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  327 

ject  is  to  mention  another  affair,  and  as  to  my  letter,  he 
will,  I  suppose,  answer  it  at  his  leisure.  I  then  mention 
the  impress  of  American  seamen,  and  observe  that  their 
press-gangs  have  entered  American  vessels  with  as  little 
ceremony  as  those  belonging  to  Britain.  '  I  believe,  my 
Lord,  this  is  the  only  instance  in  which  we  are  not  treated 
as  aliens.'  He  acknowledges  this  to  be  wrong,  and  prom 
ises  to  speak  to  Lord  Chatham  on  the  subject.  I  tell  him 
that  I  have  already  prevented  some  applications  from  be 
ing  made  on  this  business  in  a  disagreeable  manner,  but 
that  in  a  general  impress  over  all  the  British  dominions,  if 
the  greatest  care  be  not  used,  such  things  will  happen 
that  masters  of  vessels,  on  returning  home,  will  excite 
much  heat  in  America,  'and  that,  my  Lord,  added  to  other 
circumstances,  will  perhaps  occasion  very  disagreeable 
events.  And  you  know,  my  Lord,  that  when  a  wound  is 
recently  healed  it  is  very  easy  to  rub  off  the  skin.'  He 
repeats  his  assurances.  I  tell  him  that  I  feel  the  incon 
veniences  to  which  they  may  be  subjected  from  the  diffi 
culty  of  distinguishing  between  seamen  of  the  two  coun 
tries,  and  add  my  wish  that  some  plan  may  tie  adopted, 
founded  on  good  faith,  which  may  prevent  the  con 
cealment  of  British  seamen  while  it  secures  those  of 
America  from  insult,  and  suggest  the  idea  of  certificates 
of  citizenship  from  the  admiralty  courts  of  America  to 
our  seamen.  He  seems  much  pleased  with  this,  but  I  de 
sire  him  to  consult  those  of  the  King's  servants  whose  par 
ticular  department  it  is,  reminding  him  at  the  same  time 
that  I  speak  without  authority  from  America,  on  which 
score  I  made  an  apology  in  the  outset.  I  then  take  my 
leave,  but  he  requests  me  to  call  again  about  one  o'clock 

"  At  one  o'clock  on  Friday  I  again  wait  upon  the  Duke. 
After  waiting  some  time  in  the  antechamber,  I  am  intro- 

328  DIARY    AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

duced  to  where  Mr.  Pitt  and  he  are  sitting  together.  He 
presents  me  to  the  latter,  and  we  enter  into  conversation. 
The  first  point  is  that  of  the  impress,  and  upon  that  sub 
ject  Mr.  Pitt  approves  the  idea  of  a  certificate  from  the 
Admiralty  of  America.  I  mention  that  it  might  be  proper 
for  the  King's  servants  to  order  that  certificates  of  a  cer 
tain  kind  should  be  evidence  of  an  American  seaman, 
without  excluding,  however,  other  evidence,  and  that  in 
consequence  the  executive  authority  in  America  could  di 
rect  the  officers  of  the  Admiralty  Courts  to  issue  such  cer 
tificates  to  those  applying  for  them.  We  then  proceed  to 
the  treaty  of  peace.  They  both  mention  that  I  had  mis 
apprehended  the  letter  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds  respecting  a 
treaty  of  commerce.  I  observe  that  it  may  easily  be  set 
right  as  to  that  mistake,  but  that  it  is  idle  to  think  of  mak 
ing  a  new  treaty  until  the  parties  are  satisfied  about  that 
already  existing.  Mr.  Pitt  then  took  up  the  conversation, 
and  said  that  the  delay  of  compliance  on  our  part  had  ren 
dered  that  compliance  now  less  effectual,  and  that  cases 
must  certainly  exist  where  injury  had  been  sustained  by 
the  delay.  I  observe  generally  that  delay  is  always  a  kind 
of  breach,  being,  as  long  as  it  lasts,  the  non-performance 
of  stipulations.  But,  descending  a  little  more  into  particu 
lars,  I  endeavor  to  show  that  the  injury  is  complained  of 
by  the  Americans  for  the  non-payment  of  money  due 
by  this  government  to  the  owners  of  slaves  taken  away. 
On  the  whole,  I  observe  that  inquiries  of  this  sort  may  be 
very  useful  if  the  parties  mutually  seek  to  keep  asunder, 
but  that,  if  they  mean  to  come  together,  it  would  be  best  to 
keep  them  entirely  out  of  sight,  and  now  to  perform  on 
both  sides  as  well  as  the  actual  situation  of  things  will 
permit.  After  many  professions  to  cultivate  a  good  un 
derstanding,  Mr.  Pitt  mentions  that  it  might  be  well  to 
consider  in  general  the  subject,  and  on  general  grounds  to 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  329 

see  whether  some  compensation  could  not  be  made  mutu 
ally.  I  immediately  replied  :  l  If  I  understand  you,  Mr.  Pitt, 
you  wish  to  make  a  new  treaty  instead  of  complying  with 
the  old  one.'  He  admitted  this  to  be  in  some  sort  his  idea. 
I  said  that  even  on  that  ground  I  did  not  see  what  better 
could  be  done  than  to  perform  the  old  one.  'As  to  the 
compensation  for  negroes  taken  away,  it  is  too  trifling  an 
object  for  you  to  dispute,  so  that  nothing  remains  but  the 
posts.*  I  suppose,  therefore,  that  you  wish  to  retain  the 
posts.'  'Why,  perhaps  we  may.'  'They  are  not  worth  the 
keeping,  for  it  must  cost  you  a  great  deal  of  money,  and 
produce  no  benefit.  The  only  reason  you  can  desire  them 
is  to  secure  the  fur-trade,  and  that  will  centre  in  this  coun 
try,  let  who  will  carry  it  on  in  America.'  I  gave  him  the 
reasons  for  this  opinion.  '  If  you  consider  these  posts  as 
a  trivial  object,  there  is  the  less  reason  for  acquiring  them.' 
'Pardon  me,  sir,  I  only  state  the  retaining  them  as  useless 
to  you  ;  but  this  matter  is  to  be  considered  in  a  different 
point  of  light.  Those  who  made  the  peace  acted  wisely 
in  separating  the  possessions  of  the  two  countries  by  so 
wide  a  water.  It  is  essential  to  preserve  the  boundary  if 
you  wish  to  live  in  amity  with  us.  Near  neighbors  are 
seldom  good  ones,  for  the  quarrels  among  borderers  fre 
quently  bring  on  wars.  It  is  therefore  essential  for  both 
parties  that  you  should  give  them  up,  and  to  us  it  is  of 
particular  importance,  because  our  national  honor  is  inter- 

*  The  continued  occupation  of  the  posts  along  the  frontier  by  the  British 
troops  had  occasioned  much  dissatisfaction  in  America,  and,  as  early  as  1785, 
Adams,  when  sent  on  his  mission  to  Great  Britain,  had  told  Lord  Carmarthen 
that  perhaps  the  most  pressing  of  all  the  six  points  for  discussion  was  the  re 
tention  of  the  posts,  which  had  deprived  the  "  merchants  of  a  most  profitable 
trade  in  furs,  which  they  justly  considered  as  their  right."  In  1785  this 
subject  was  also  mentioned  to  Pitt  by  Mr.  Adams,  but  was  always  met  with 
the  same  answer,  that  it  was  a  matter  connected  with  the  debts.  It  was  not 
until  1796,  under  Mr.  Jay's  treaty,  that  the  much-disputed  frontier-posts  were 
surrendered  by  Great  Britain  to  the  United  States. 

330  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

ested.  You  hold  them  with  the  avowed  intention  of  forc 
ing  us  to  comply  with  such  conditions  as  you  may  impose.' 
'Why,  sir,  as  to  the  considerations  of  national  honor,  we 
can  retort  the  observation  and  say  our  honor  is  concerned 
in  your  delay  of  performance  of  the  treaty.'  '  No,  sir,  your 
natural  and  proper  course  was  to  comply  fully  on  your 
part,  and  if  then  we  had  refused  a  compliance,  you  might 
rightfully  have  issued  letters  of  marque  and  reprisal  to 
such  of  your  subjects  as  were  injured  by  our  refusal.  But 
the  conduct  you  have  pursued  naturally  excites  resent 
ment  in  every  American  bosom.  We  do  not  think  it  worth 
while  to  go  to  war  with  you  for  these  posts,  but  we  know 
our  rights,  and  will  avail  ourselves  of  them  when  time  and  cir 
cumstances  may  suit.' 

"  Mr.  Pitt  asked  me  if  I  had  power  to  treat.  I  told  him 
I  had  not,  and  that  we  would  not  appoint  any  person  as 
minister,  they  had  so  much  neglected  the  former  appoint 
ment.  He  asked  me  whether  we  would  appoint  a  minis 
ter  if  they  did.  I  told  him  that  I  could  almost  promise 
that  we  should,  but  was  not  authorized  to  give  any  posi 
tive  assurance.  We  then  converse  loosely  upon  the  man 
ner  of  communicating  on  that  subject.  In  the  course  of 
it  I  tell  him  that  we  cannot  take  notice  of  their  consuls, 
or  anything  which  they  may  say,  because  they  are  not 
characters  known  or  acknowledged  by  us.  His  pride  was 
a  little  touched  at  this." 

"  '  I  suppose,  Mr.  Morris,  that  attention  might  as  well  be 
paid  to  what  they  say  as  that  the  Duke  of  Leeds  and  I 
should  hold  the  present  conversation  with  you.' 

"  '  By  no  means,  sir.  I  should  never  have  thought  of 
asking  a  conference  with  his  grace  if  I  had  not  possessed 
a  letter  from  the  President  of  the  United  States,  which 
you  know,  my  Lord,  I  left  with  you,  and  which,  I  dare 
say,  you  have  communicated  to  Mr.  Pitt.' 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  331 

"  He  had.  Mr.  Pitt  said  they  would  in  like  manner 
write  a  letter  to  one  of  their  consuls. 

" '  Yes,  sir,  and  the  letter  would  be  attended  to  and  not 
the  consul,  who  is  in  no  respect  different  from  any  other 
British  subject,  and  this  is  the  subject  which  I  wished  you 
to  attend  to.' 

"He  said,  in  reply  to  this,  that  etiquette  ought  not  to  be 
pushed  so  far  as  to  injure  business,  and  keep  the  countries 
asunder.  I  assured  him  that  the  rulers  of  America  had 
too  much  understanding  to  care  for  etiquette,  but  prayed 
him  at  the  same  time  to  recollect  that  they  (the  British) 
had  hitherto  kept  us  at  a  distance  instead  of  making  ad 
vances  ;  that  we  had  gone  quite  as  far  as  they  had  any 
reason  to  expect  in  writing  the  letter  just  mentioned,  but 
that  from  what  had  passed  in  consequence  of  it,  and  which 
(as  he  might  naturally  suppose)  I  had  transmitted,  we 
could  not  but  consider  them  as  wishing  to  avoid  an  inter 
course.  He  took  up  this  point,  and  expressed  a  hope  that  I 
would  remove  such  an  idea.  He  assures  me  that  they  are 
disposed  to  cultivate  a  connection,  etc.  To  this  I  reply 
that  any  written  communication  that  may  be  made  by  his 
grace  of  Leeds  shall  be  duly  transmitted  ;  that  I  do  not 
like  to  transmit  mere  conversation,  because  it  may  be  mis 
conceived,  and  that  disagreeable  questions  may  arise  ;  that 
as  to  the  disposition  for  having  a  good  understanding  be 
tween  the  two  countries,  it  is  evidenced  on  our  part  not 
only  by  the  step  which  the  President  has  taken,  but  also 
by  the  decision  of  the  legislature,  in  which  a  considerable 
majority  were  opposed  to  the  laying  extraordinary  re 
strictions  upon  British  vessels  in  our  ports.  Mr.  Pitt  ob 
serves  that,  on  the  contrary,  we  ought  to  give  them  particu 
lar  privileges  in  consequence  of  those  which  we  enjoy 
here.  I  tell  him  that  I  really  know  of  no  particular  privi 
lege  we  enjoy,  except  that  of  being  impressed,  which  of 

332  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

all  others  we  are  least  desirous  to  partake  of.  The  Duke 
of  Leeds  observed,  in  the  same  style  of  jocularity,  that  we 
were  at  least  treated  in  that  respect  as  the  most  favored 
nation,  seeing  that  we  were  treated  like  themselves.  They 
promised  to  consult  together,  and  give  me  the  result  of 
their  deliberations." 

"At  eleven  o'clock  to-night  [May  22d]  I  take  Mrs.  Phyn 
to  Ranelagh.  We  do  not  arrive  till  after  twelve.  The  room 
is  filled,  and  it  is  an  immense  one.  The  amusement  here 
is  to  walk  round  until  one  is  tired,  and  then  sit  down  to  tea 
and  rolls.  The  report  of  the  day  has  been  that  the  Na 
tional  Assembly  have  denied  to  the  King  the  power  of 
making  war  and  peace.  I  met  an  abbe  at  the  French 
ambassador's  at  dinner  to-day,  who  is  a  very  great  astrono 
mer,  and  who  makes  several  observations  on  the  philo 
sophic  credulity  of  Franklin  and  Jefferson.  Both  of  them, 
he  thinks,  have  entertained  a  higher  sense  of  the  force  of 
steam-engines  applied  to  navigation  than  they  merit,  and 
I  think  so  too.  I  have  told  Parker  long  ago  that  I  believe 
Rumsey's  contrivances  will  answer  only  to  work  up  stream 
in  rivers  where  fuel  is  cheap.  The  ambassador  seems  to 
me  to  be  in  a  violent  agitation  of  mind,  and  I  remark  it 
after  dinner  to  his  niece,  who  tells  me  that  he  has  been  so 
for  some  days,  but  she  cannot  conjecture  the  reason.  In 
conversing  about  the  news  of  yesterday,  Church,  who  is 
here,  says  that  it  is  reported  from  M.  de  Calonne,  said  to 
have  learned  it  by  express,  that  the  National  Assembly 
have  vested  in  the  Crown  the  right  of  peace  and  war.  I 
express  my  surprise  that  in  the  present  conjuncture  the 
Comte  de  Florida  Blanca  should  be  removed,  and  from  the 
state  of  affairs  draw  into  question  the  truth  of  that  report. 
La  Luzerne  upon  this  subject  declares  that  in  Spain  they 
have  no  idea  of  any  such  situation  as  seems  to  be  imag 
ined  here  ;  that  there  is  nothing  extraordinary  in  their 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  333 

armaments,  etc.  This  is  going  too  far  for  his  own  object, 
because  a  certain  extent  of  armament  in  that  country  is  in 
disputable,  and  also  that  it  exceeds  the  usual  measure  of 
peace  establishment  very  considerably." 

"  Dine  [May  27th]  with  the  Marquis  of  Lansdowne.  It  is 
six  when  I  arrive.  He  receives  me  politely,  and  apologizes 
for  not  having  invited  me  sooner.  At  dinner  he  sports  sen 
timents  respecting  the  constitution  of  France  to  the  French 
who  are  here,  which  I  believe  to  be  foreign  to  his  heart. 
Dr.  Price  *  is  one  of  the  guests,  who  is  one  of  the  Liberty- 
mad  people.  After  dinner,  being  together  in  the  drawing- 
room  a  few  minutes,  the  noble  marquis  advances  senti 
ments  to  me  far  less  friendly  to  France,  but  full  of  love 
and  kindness  for  America.  I  am,  however,  at  liberty  to  be 
lieve  just  as  much  as  I  please.  The  resolutions  of  the  As 
sembly  are  arrived,  which  say  just  nothing,  as  far  as  I  can 
find.  They  reserve  the  right  of  declaring  war  to  the  Na 
tional  Assembly,  but  permit  the  King  to  arm,  etc.  This,  at 
least,  is  the  account  given  to  me  by  Lord  Lansdowne. 

"  Dine  [May  28th]  at  the  French  ambassador's.  He  says 
that  the  decree  respecting  war  and  peace  was  passed  in 
consequence  of  the  tumultuous  meeting  of  the  populace 
in  the  neighborhood  of  the  place  where  the  Assembly  sit. 
Bouinville  says  that  Lafayette  wants  him  to  concert  with 
me,  and  then  return  for  a  few  days  to  Paris.  He  thinks 
that  the  decree  will  by  no  means  prevent  the  administra 
tion  from  engaging  in  a  war,  and  I  think  so  too." 

"  The  news  from  Paris  [May  3oth]  is  that  everything  is 

*  Richard  Price,  a  dissenting  minister  and  speculative  philosopher,  born  in 
1723,  was  the  intimate  friend  of  Dr.  Franklin  and  Dr.  Priestley.  He  strongly 
advocated  the  cause  of  American  liberty,  and  in  1778  he  was  invited  by  Con 
gress  to  become  a  citizen  of  the  United  States.  This  offer  he  declined.  He 
was  an  ardent  supporter  of  the  French  Revolution  and  drew  down  upon 
himself  thus  the  denunciations  of  Burke  in  the  famous  "Reflections."  He 
died  at  London  in  1791. 


again  in  confusion.  The  populace  have  dispersed  the 
Court  of  the  Chatelet,  and  hanged  several  persons  confined 
for  crimes.  The  reason  of  this  riot  was  to  prevent  an  in 
vestigation  of  the  ex-cesses  before  committed  at  Versailles. 
Farther,  the  object  of  the  demagogues,  according  to  rumor, 
is  to  remove  Lafayette  and  place  La  Meth  *  in  his  stead. 
This  would  be  a  curious  appointment.  But  France  seems 
now  to  be  governed  by  Barnave,f  Chapelier,J  the  Baron  de 
Menou,§  and  Due  d'Aquillon,||  with  others  of  the  same 
stamp.  Unhappy  kingdom  !  " 

The  trial  of  Warren  Hastings  was  going  on  most  of  the 
time  that  Morris  had  been  in  London,  and  although  tickets 
of  admission  had  been  offered  to  him  at  various  times,  only 
once  had  he  gone  to  Westminster  Hall  ;  on  June  yth,  how 
ever,  when  the  trial  was  nearly  over,  he  again  went.  "  We 
get,"  the  diary  says,  "  to  Westminster  Hall  at  eleven,  and 
find  great  difficulty  in  procuring  a  seat.  About  two  the 
court  opens,  and  from  twelve  we  have  been  pressed  hard 
by  those  who  could  not  get  seats,  and  are  much  incom 
moded  by  the  foul  air  till  near  six,  when  the  company  is  a 
little  thinned.  Mr.  Fox  sums  up  the  evidence  with  great 
ability.  But  he  does  not  get  through  it  at  eight  o'clock, 
\vhen  the  Lords  adjourn.  It  is  said  that  this  man  is  to  be 

*  Count  Alexandra  La  Meth,  a  deputy  of  the  noblesse  in  1789,  who  united 
with  the  Third  Estate  to  form  the  national  party. 

t  Antoine  Charles  Pierre  Barnave,  a  revolutionist  and  an  orator,  and  a 
member  of  the  States-General  in  1789. 

J  Isaac  Rene  Gui  Chapelier,  an  eminent  lawyer,  among  the  ablest  members 
of  the  States-General.  He  drafted  the  degree  abolishing  the  nobility,  and 
favored  the  Feuillants,  or  the  side  of  the  constitution.  In  1794  he  was  execut 
ed  on  the  charge  cf  having  conspired  in  favor  of  royalty. 

§  Jacques  Francois  Baron  de  Menou  served  in  the  republican  army  in  1793, 
in  the  Vendean  campaign,  and  commanded  the  national  guard  which  sup 
pressed  the  insurrection  in  the  Faubourg  St.  Antoine. 

||  Armand  de  Vignero  Duplisses  Richelieu,  Due  d'Aquillon,  warmly  sup 
ported  the  popular  cause  in  the  States-General  in  1789,  was  the  second  of 
the  noblesse  to  renounce  his  privileges  in  the  session  of  August  4th,  took 
command  of  the  armies,  was  proscribed  in  1792,  but  escaped  by  flight. 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  335 

acquitted,  and  from  the  various  decisions  as  to  evidence  we 
would  be  inclined  to  think  so,  but  in  my  opinion  this 
charge  of  bribery  is  fully  supported.  It  will,  however, 
depend,  I  suppose,  on  the  situation  of  the  ministry  at  the 
time  of  the  decision,  whether  he  is  acquitted  or  con 

By  the  middle  of  June  the  bourgeoisie  revolutionnaire  in 
the  National  Assembly,  hoping  to  insure  to  themselves  a 
passive  king,  with  all  the  splendor  of  a  court  around  him 
which  he  should  owe  to  them,  voted  Louis  XVI.  an 
allowance  of  26,000, ooof.  "Out  of  this  sum,  however," 
Morris  says,  in  commenting  on  the  act,  "he  is  to  provide 
for  his  household  troops,  and  for  the  different  branches  of 
the  royal  family.  He  has  asked,  though  not  pointedly, 
4,ooo,ooof.  for  the  Queen's  dower,  and  they  have  granted 
it,  but  not  specifically.  The  forms  will,  I  suppose,  be  gone 
through  speedily.  There  is  also  a  plan  of  confederation 
to  take  place  between  the  military  and  militia,  by  way  of 
counter-security  to  the  Revolution." 

Ten  days  after  the  Assembly  had  enthusiastically  voted 
the  allowance  for  the  king  ;  just  as  enthusiastically,  and 
"with  an  inconsequence  truly  prodigious,"  they  voted  the 
abolition  of  the  nobility. 

"  To-day  [June  24th]  at  dinner  at  the  French  ambas 
sador's,"  continues  the  diary,  "  there  are  a  number  of  the 
Corps  Diplomatique,  and,  what  suits  me  better,  a  fine  turtle. 
Advices  from  France  announce  the  total  abolition  of  the 
French  nobility,  down  to  the  very  arms  and  livery ;  this 
upon  motion  of  some  of  the  Whig  nobles.  There  is  also 
a  strange  address  to  the  Assembly  from  a  junto  of  all  na 
tions.  It  seems  as  if  the  Revolutionists  were  studying 
how  best  to  excite  a  strong  opposition  to  their  measures. 
Heaven  knows  how  this  will  all  end,  but  I  fear  badly,  un 
less  they  are  saved  by  a  foreign  war.  Go  from  hence  to 

336  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

General  Morris's,  and  sit  some  time  with  them.  He  says 
there  will  be  no  war,  and  from  his  manner  of  speaking  I 
think  he  has  been  told  so  by  some  person  who  is  in  the 

Morris's  keen  sense  of  humor  prevailed  even  at  this 
juncture,  which  was  full  of  sadness  to  many  of  his  Parisian 
friends,  and  he  could  not  resist  the  inclination  to  see  the 
grimly  amusing  side  of  the  change  of  names  that  must 
ensue  from  such  a  decree.  "  Make  a  thousand  compli 
ments  for  me,"  he  wrote  to  Mr.  Short,  "  to  her  Royal  High 
ness  and  to  Madame  de  Chastellux.  I  suppose  that  when 
I  return  to  Paris  (which  will  be  soon)  I  shall  have  to  learn 
new  names  for  one-half  of  my  acquaintance.  Pray,  are  the 
friends  of  the  Revolution  afraid  that  its  enemies  will  not 
be  sufficiently  exasperated?" 

"  The  Marquis  de  la  Luzerne  tells  me  to-day  [July  2d], 
at  dinner,  that  the  Duke  of  Orleans  has  taken  leave  of  the 
King  with  intention  to  return.  I  tell  him  that  I  doubt  yet 
his  returning,  because  I  think  that  the  slightest  circum 
stance  would  prevent  it,  and  mention,  as  an  instance,  that 
the  receipt  even  of  an  anonymous  letter  announcing  dan 
ger  would  terrify  him.  He  says  there  are  many  ways,  but 
that  they  will  neither  use  them  nor  permit  others  to  do  it. 
He  seems  rather  vexed  at  this.  The  decree  respecting  the 
nobility,  he  observes,  is  not  yet  sanctioned.  I  notice  the 
situation  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  as  being  whimsical.  He 
cannot  go  into  any  country  well,  nor  remain  here,  when 
the  war  breaks  out.  He  asks  me  why  I  suppose  always 
that  there  will  be  a  war  ?  I  tell  him  that  I  have  long  been 
convinced  of  it,  for  many  reasons.  'Vous  dites  toujours 
les  choses  extraordinaires  qui  se  realisent.'  Happening  to 
mention  Short,  he  speaks  of  him  as  being  fout  and  ren 
dered  so  by  Jefferson.  I  tell  him  that  he  will  probably  be 
appointed  minister  in  France.  He  seems  not  well  pleased, 

179°.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  337 

but  says  he  is  probably  a  very  suitable  person.  He  is 
vexed  at  Lafayette's  conduct  respecting  the  noblesse,  and 
says  that,  although  he  has  a  good  deal  of  management 
(conduite)  in  his  affairs,  he  has  done  much  evil  from  the 
want  of  genius  (esprit\  in  which  idea  he  is  not  entirely 

On  July  i4th  the  great  fete  of  the  federation  was  held, 
when  the  world  of  Paris  celebrated  the  anniversary  of  the 
fall  of  the  Bastille,  and  swore  to  obey  the  new  constitution. 
There  were  three  hundred  thousand  spectators  assembled 
in  the  great  amphitheatre  in  the  Champ  de  Mars.  Here 
could  be  seen  the  courtesan  and  the  chaste  maiden,  the 
capuchin  and  the  chevalier  of  St.  Louis,  the  porter  and  the 
dandy  of  the  Palais  Royal,  the  fishwoman  and  the  fine  lady, 
mingled  together,  and  together  they  swore  fraternity.  How 
they  kept  the  oath  history  tells.  At  the  elevation  of  the 
Host  by  the  celebrant,  the  Bishop  of  Autun,  all  that  vast 
multitude  fell  on  their  knees.  Lafayette  placed  his  sword 
on  the  altar,  and  gave  the  signal  for  taking  the  oath.  One 
moment  of  intense  silence,  while  he  swore  to  be  faithful  to 
nation  and  king  ;  then  alt  swords  drawn,  all  arms  raised, 
and  from  all  lips  came  the  oath,  "  I  swear."  Then  from 
the  king  came  the  words,  "  I,  King  of  the  French,  swear 
to  protect  the  constitution  I  have  accepted."  Frantic  en 
thusiasm  greeted  the  queen,  who,  with  the  Dauphin  in  her 
arms,  said,  "The  king's  sentiments  are  mine."  Then  the 
Te  Deum  gave  the  amen  to  the  oath.  All  the  while  the 
rain  kept  falling  in  torrents  on  the  pageant.  In  the  even 
ing  another  great  fete  was  held,  and  on  the  ruins  of  the 
Bastille  one  saw  the  sign,  "  Ici  Ton  danse."  All  night  long 
Paris  was  en  fete. 

"Your  fete  is  passed,"  Morris  wrote,  July  26th,  of  this 
event   to  William   Short;   "I  trust  that   no  sinister  acci 
dents  have  resulted  from  it.     When  we  reflect  on  the  inci- 


dents  which  have  passed  within  less  than  two  years,  we 
must  be  forcibly  struck  with  the  mutability  of  human 
affairs.  ...  I  sincerely,  nay,  devoutly,  wish  that  the 
constitution  may  be  productive  of  great  and  lasting  good 
to  France.  It  is,  you  know,  very  far  from  my  ideas  of 
what  is  right,  and  it  will  give  me  great  pleasure  should 
it  disappoint  my  expectations.  I  had  been,  as  you  sup 
pose,  apprised  of  the  schism  in  the  democratic  party, 
at  which  I  was  not  at  all  surprised.  United  by  com 
mon  danger,  very  discordant  materials  were  held  together, 
which  from  different  motives  had  been  thrown  together. 
The  danger  past,  in  appearance  at  least,  the  different 
pretensions  were  brought  forward,  and  (unfortunately,  I 
think)  there  is  no  man  or  set  of  men  who  have  dared  to 
stop  at  that  point  of  moderation  \vhere  alone  good  prin 
ciples  can  be  found,  and  by  which  alone  good  govern 
ment  can  exist.  Those  who  court  the  people  have  a 
very  capricious  mistress  ;  a  mistress  which  may  be  gained 
by  sacrifices,  but  she  cannot  be  so  held,  for  she  is  insati 
able.  The  people  will  never  continue  attached  to  any 
man  who  will  sacrifice  his  duty  to  their  caprice.  In 
modern  days  we  have,  I  believe,  more  virtue  than  the  an 
cients  ;  certainly  we  are  more  decent.  But  the  principles 
of  human  nature  are  the  same,  and  so  shall  we  find  the 
pursuits  of  man  to  be,  if  we  can  but  penetrate  that  veil  of 
decency  by  which  young  ambition  is  decorated.  If  we 
cannot,  he  will  spare  us  the  trouble  whenever  those  bar 
riers  are  removed  which  were  erected  against  him  by  that 
great  ally  of  virtue,  the  law.  In  proportion  as  the  Revolu 
tion  shall  appear  to  be  completed,  and  the  new  order  of 
things  appear  to  be  established,  schisms  will  multiply 
anaong  the  Revolutionists,  for  each  will  desire  (disinterest 
edly,  no  doubt)  a  share  of  the  good  things  which  are 
going,  and  which,  from  the  droits  de  I'homme,  you  know  all 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  339 

are  entitled  to  enjoy.  I  remember,  in  one  of  the  early  ad 
dresses  of  Congress,  something  was  said  about  the  luxury 
of  being  free.  Now  the  French  genius  may  refine  as  much 
upon  this  luxury  as  they  used  to  do  upon  the  other ;  but, 
bating  their  talents  at  refinement,  I  hardly  conjecture 
what  ground  those  men  will  take  hereafter  who  would 
signalize  their  democratic  principles.  They  will,  I  fear, 
be  but  humble  imitators  of  Sir  John  Brute,  who,  in  the 
heat  of  his  zeal  and  wine,  drank  confusion  to  all  order. 
.  The  observation  you  made  upon  the  dissolute  con 
duct  of  the  Fedcres,  I  had  long  since  made  upon  the  whole 
nation.  It  requires  the  strong  stomach  of  monarchy  to 
digest  such  rank  manners.  As  to  the  instinctive  love  of 
their  princes  which  you  speak  of,  it  is  indeed  instinctive, 
and  the  animal  will  never  get  rid  of  its  instinct.  The 
French  will  all  tell  you  that  their  countrymen  have  des  tetes 
exalte'es,  and  their  manners,  habits,  and  ideas  are  all  up  to 
that  standard.  A  Frenchman  loves  his  king  as  he  loves 
his  mistress,  to  madness,  because  he  thinks  it  great  and 
noble  to  be  mad.  He  then  abandons  both  the  one  and  the 
other  most  ignobly,  because  he  cannot  bear  the  continued 
action  of  the  sentiment  he  has  persuaded  himself  to  feel." 
"  Paine  tells  me  that  the  Comte  de  Montmorin  has 
applied  to  the  Assemblee,"  says  the  diary  for  August 
8th,  "to  know  whether  they  will  adhere  to  the  family 
compact.  The  Spanish  ambassador  has  made  a  formal 
demand,  accompanied  with  a  threat  from  his  Court.  I 
think  I  see  this  in  its  true  light,  but  do  not  mention 
to  him  my  idea.  After  he  has  left  me  some  time,  Bouin- 
ville  calls,  and  from  conversation  with  him  I  find  that 
I  am  right.  He  tells  me  that  the  whole  of  the  French 
administration  will  go  out,  but  that  Montmorin  will  pre 
serve  his  place  in  the  council  as  governor  of  the  chil 
dren  of  France  ;  that  secretaries  will  be  appointed  for 

340  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XV. 

the  present — young  men  who  can  be  at  any  time  removed. 
Ternant  has  been  negotiating  (but  without  effect),  to  quiet 
the  claims  of  the  German  princes,  whose  feudal  claims  in 
France  have  been  annihilated.  Barnave  is  about  to  desert 
La  Meth,  who  has  lately  made  overtures  to  M.  de  Lafa 
yette,  but  he  replied  by  a  declaration  that  in  the  present 
situation  there  was  no  alternative  but  victory  or  death. 
General  and  Mrs.  Morris  call  upon  me.  They  take  tea, 
and  sit  till  near  ten.  She  tells  me  that  the  Duchess  of 
Gordon  is,  on  her  report,  very  desirous  of  becoming  ac 
quainted.  She  is,  it  seems,  a  woman  of  great  wit  and  full 
of  life.  They  have  dined  with  her,  and  she  told  my  sister 
she  would  give  me  a  dinner  with  Mr.  Pitt.  I  express  much 
satisfaction  at  the  idea  of  being  presented  to  the  Premier. 
In  the  course  of  conversation  my  sister  tells  me  that  the 
fashionable  style  for  young  men  in  London  is  to  affect 
great  ennui,  and  receive  advances  from  the  ladies  which 
they  hardly  deign  to  notice." 

"To-day  [August  i5th]  Mr.  Bouinville  dines  with  me, 
and  communicates  all  that  he  knows  respecting  the  situa 
tion  of  affairs  in  France.  He  tells  me  that  Lafayette  has 
been  very  much  hurt  to  find  himself  so  much  deceived  by 
those  whom  he  thought  attached  to  him.  Mankind  always 
make  false  estimates  on  this  subject.  He  tells  me  much 
of  what  passed  between  him  and  the  Duke  of  Orleans. 
He  seems  not  to  know,  or  to  be  unwilling  to  mention,  the 
names  of  those  who  are  intended  for  the  new  ministry. 
He  says  that  things  are  going  very  badly  in  Paris,  and,  in 
deed,  in  all  France.  The  Comite  des  Jacobins  gathers 
strength  daily.  Of  course,  Lafayette  becomes  insecure. 
The  army  is  in  a  state  of  total  disorder,  and  the  navy  little 
better  ;  the  finance  every  hour  more  deranged  than  the 
last.  He  seems,  however,  confident  that  the  Assemblee 
will  adhere  to  the  family  compact,  and  that  there  will  be  a 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  341 

war  with  this  country,  which  I  incline  to  doubt,  because 
there  seems  not  to  be  sufficient  energy  in  the  French  coun 
sels.  Paine,  who  was  with  me,  had  shown  a  paper  which 
he  had  written,  and  which  Lafayette  had  caused  to  be 
translated  and  published,  recommending  an  attack  in  the 
Channel  by  the  combined  fleets." 

342  DIARY    AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XVI. 


Various  undertakings  in  Europe.  Dulness  of  card-playing  in  England. 
Washington  approves  of  Morris's  communications  with  the  ministers. 
Letter  to  Washington  on  French  affairs.  Interview  with  the  Duke  of 
Leeds.  Continental  tour  before  returning  to  Paris.  Civilities  from 
persons  to  whom  he  had  letters.  Difficulties  of  travel  in  1790.  Un 
comfortable  inns  and  bad  roads.  Interview  with  Baron  de  Dolberg. 
Paris  again.  Flatteringly  received  by  the  Comte  de  Montmorin. 
Morris  presents  a  dog  to  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  The  Due  de 
Castries's  hotel  pillaged.  M.  de  Flahaut  wishes  to  go  to  America  as 
minister.  The  play  of  "Brutus."  Much  excitement  in  the  theatre. 
Dines  with  the  Garde  des  Sceaux.  Apprehends  a  plot  of  the  Em 
peror  for  liberating  the  Queen  and  restoring  the  former  government. 
Criticises  the  new  constitution.  Gives  his  opinion  of  the  condition 
of  affairs  to  Lafayette.  The  last  months  of  1790. 

DURING  the  year  and  a  half  that  Morris  had  been 
in  Europe  he  had  unremittingly* labored  in  behalf 
of  his  friend  Robert  Morris,  but  the  delays  and  difficul 
ties  that  beset  him  were  unending.  A  querulous  and 
quite  uncalled  for  letter  from  Robert  Morris  drew  from 
him  a  list  of  his  various  undertakings.  In  all,  they  num 
bered  twelve  separate  and  distinct  enterprises.  "Indian 
voyages,  the  liquidated  debt,  debts  to  Spain  and  France 
of  the  United  States,  the  Fairfax  estates,  the  sale  of 
land  in  America,"  so  he  enumerated  them  ;  "  and  last, 
but  much  the  most  difficult  task  of  all,  your  various  debts 
and  engagements.  Here  I  have  had  to  perform  the  task  of 
the  Israelites  in  Egypt — to  make  bricks  without  straw." 
Besides  all  his  other  responsibilities,  he  had  his  farm  at 
Morrisania  to  think  of,  for  it  was  at  this  time  more  of  an 
expense  and  care  than  anything  else. 


"This  evening  [August  i4th],  about  nine,  I  visit  the 
Duchess  of  Gordon.  Presently  Lady  Chatham  comes  in, 
and  then  the  rest  of  the  company.  Colonel  Lenox  and  his 
lady  are  here.  She  is  a  liner  woman  than  is  imagined — 
quick  feelings,  I  think,  and  tenderness,  which  will  by  and 
by  meet  some  object  more  likely  to  command  the  heart 
than  the  colonel,  who  seems  to  be  a  good-tempered  fellow. 
He  speaks  to  me  of  my  brother  with  much  regard.  Dull 
drudging  at  cards,  which  I  refuse  to  partake  of.  Stay  to 
supper,  which,  also,  I  do  not  partake  of,  nor,  indeed,  of  the 
conversation,  which  turns  chiefly  on  who  is  and  who  is  not 
a  fine  woman.  A  Mr.  Elliot  who  is  here  is  a  very  genteel, 
fashionable  kind  of  man,  much  beyond  the  usual  English 
style.  I  think  he  must  be  a  Scotchman,  although  his  dia 
lect  is  pure.  Return  home  at  two,  well  convinced  that  I 
shall  never  do  for  the  tonish  circles  here,  for  I  will  not 
play,  and,  indeed,  cannot  spare  time  in  the  morning  for 
such  late  hours." 

Morris  constantly  spoke  of  himself  as  not  a  cautious 
man,  but  rather  as  one  who  must  speak  out  the  convictions 
that  were  in  him  ;  but  he  was  at  the  same  time  lenient 
with  those  whose  opinions  differed  from  his,  and  his  com 
mon  sense  always  came  out,  as  such  a  letter  as  the  follow 
ing  to  Mr.  Short  testifies:  "It  is  perfectly  natural,"  he 
wrote,  "that  your  opinions  should  differ  from  mine.  It 
will  be  very  long  before  political  subjects  will  be  reduced 
to  geometric  certitude.  At  present  the  reasoning  on  them 
is  a  kind  of  arithmetic  of  infinity,  when  the  best  informa 
tion,  the  coolest  head,  and  clearest  mind  can  only  approach 
the  truth.  A  cautious  man  should  therefore  give  only 
sibylline  predictions,  if,  indeed,  he  should  hazard  any. 
But  I  am  not  a  cautious  man.  I  therefore  give  it  as  my 
opinion  that  they  will  issue  the  paper  currency,  and  sub 
stitute  thereby  depreciation  in  the  place  of  bankruptcy,  or, 


rather,  suspension.  Apropos  of  this  currency,  this  papier 
terrJ,  now  mort  et  enterrd,  the  Assembly  have  committed 
many  blunders  which  are  not  to  be  wondered  at.  They 
have  taken  genius  instead  of  reason  for  their  guide,  adopt 
ed  experiment  instead  of  experience,  and  wander  in  the 
dark  because  they  prefer  lightning  to  light.  You  are  very 
merry  on  the  subject  of  personal  liberty,  but  the  district  has 
more  to  say  than  many  are  aware  of.  Is  it  not  written  in  the 
'Droits  de  1'homme'  that  liberty  is  an  inalienable  property 
of  man  inseparable  from  the  human  character?  and  if  this 
be  so,  what  better  way  of  securing  personal  liberty  than  to 
secure  the  person  ?  You  wits  may  sneer,  but  you  must  learn 
to  respect  the  decrees  of  the  municipalities,  which,  like 
those  of  Heaven,  are  inscrutable,  but  not  on  that  account 
the  less  entitled  to  obedience  and  respect.  The  lady,  I 
am  told,  is  so  far  from  complaining  of  the  restraint  she 
was  laid  under  that,  although  an  aristocrat,  she  tells  the 
Assembly,  with  all  becoming  humility,  that  she  finds  their 
yoke  is  easy  and  their  burden  light,  while  the  young  gen 
tleman  ordered  on  duty  in  her  chamber  acknowledges  that 
service  to  be  perfect  freedom.  Short-sighted  man  that 
you  are  !  By  way  of  addition  and  amendment,  I  would 
humbly  propose  that  the  male  aristocrats  should  be  put 
into  the  custody  of  the  female  Whigs,  and  I  dare  say  they 
would  come  out  much  less  fierce  than  they  were, 

"  The  situation  of  France  is  by  no  means  desperate.  A 
torrent  of  depreciation  may  inundate  the  land,  and  storms 
and  tempests  arise,  but  the  one,  you  know,  fertilizes  the 
soil  and  the  other  purifies  the  atmosphere.  Ultimately 
health  and  abundance  succeed  the  wintry  appearance 
which  seemed  fatal  to  both.  Adieu.  I  shall  leave  this  in 
a  day  or  two." 

In  a  letter  to  Washington,  dated  August  3oth,  he  ex 
pressed  a  hope  that  in  a  day  or  two  he  might  "  learn  some- 

179°.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  345 

thing  of  their  intentions  here  respecting  us.  And  if  I  do 
not  hear  from  them,  shall  make  a  final  address  to  His  Grace 
of  Leeds.  It  is  very  flattering  to  me,  sir,  that  you  are  so 
kind  as  to  approve  of  my  communications  with  the  minis 
ters  of  this  country,  so  far  as  they  had  gone  in  the  begin 
ning  of  May.  I  earnestly  hope  that  my  subsequent  conduct 
may  meet  the  same  favorable  interpretation.  This  you  may 
rely  on,  that  if  in  any  case  I  go  wrong,  it  will  be  from  an 
error  of  judgment.  Affairs  in  France  go  badly.  The  na 
tional  bank  which  was  in  contemplation  has  never  taken  ef 
fect.  After  deliberating  about  it  and  about  it,  the  thing 
dropped,  and  they  did  expect  to  have  made  out  with  their 
paper  currency  (the  assignats),  but  my  predictions  on  that 
subject  seem  to  be  verified.  Their  Assemblee  is  losing 
ground  daily  in  the  public  opinion.  The  army,  long  en 
couraged  in  licentious  conduct,  is  now  in  revolt.  All  the 
bands  of  society  are  loosened  and  authority  is  gone.  Un 
less  they  are  soon  involved  in  foreign  war,  it  seems  impos 
sible  to  conjecture  what  events  will  take  place.  For  some 
time  past  the  ministers  have  been  threatened  with  the  lan- 
term,  and  they  would  gladly  get  out  of  office.  We  are  in 
hourly  expectation  of  hearing  the  decision  of  the  Assem 
blee  on  the  family  compact.  The  Spanish  ambassador 
has  required,  in  pointed  terms,  a  compliance  on  the  part  of 
France.  In  the  meantime  both  the  Spanish  and  English 
fleets  were  out,  and  approaching  toward  each  other. 
Probably  each  side  means  only  to  terrify  at  present." 

Morris  became  decidedly  impatient  of  the  long  de 
lay  on  the  part  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds  in  replying  to  his 
questions  of  April  3oth,  and  on  September  zoth  he  again 
wrote  to  him,  and  told  him  that,  in  expectation  of  his  reply, 
"  I  have  patiently  waited  in  this  city  to  the  present  hour, 
though  called  by  many  affairs  to  the  Continent.  But  my 
departure  cannot  be  much  longer  delayed,  and  therefore  it 


becomes  necessary  to  intrude  once  more  on  your  grace's 
attention."  An  interview  accordingly  was  fixed  for  the 
i5th,  and  the  diary  thus  reports  it :  "I  see  at  once  by  his 
countenance,  when  I  arrive  at  his  office,  that  he  feels  him 
self  obliged  to  cut  an  awkward  part.  Let  him  begin,  there 
fore,  which  he  does  by  mentioning  that  he  understands  I 
am  going  to  America.  Set  him  right,  by  observing  that  the 
expression  in  my  letter  of  going  to  the  Continent,  meant 
the  continent  of  Europe.  He  says  that  he  is  still  earnestly 
desirous  of  a  real,  bonafide  connection,  not  merely  by  the 
words  of  a  treaty  but  in  reality.  I  reply  with  like  general 
professions.  He  says  that  as  to  the  two  points  of  the 
treaty,  there  are  still  difficulties.  He  wishes  they  could 
be  got  out  of  the  way,  and  then  hesitates  and  drops  the 
conversation.  Finding  from  this  that  he  is  to  hold  a  con 
ference  with  me  which  is  to  amount  to  just  nothing  at  all, 
I  determine  to  learn  as  much  as  I  can  from  his  looks.  I 
therefore  begin  by  observing  that  I  am  extremely  sorry 
for  it,  but  that  the  affair  of  the  posts  seems  to  present  an 
insurmountable  barrier  to  any  treaty,  because  it  will  serve 
as  a  pretext  to  ill-disposed  persons.  This,  I  see,  has  some 
effect.  I  add,  therefore,  that  it  gives  serious  alarm  to  per 
sons  otherwise  well  disposed,  who  say  that  the  garrisoning 
of  those  posts,  being  evidently  a  great  and  useless  expense 
to  this  country,  can  only  be  done  with  hostile  views  ;  that 
every  murder  committed  by  the  Indians  is  therefore  set 
down  to  the  account  of  British  intrigues  ;  that  I  do  not 
presume  to  judge  in  respect  to  the  great  circle  of  Europe 
an  politics,  but,  according  to  my  limited  comprehension 
of  the  matter,  I  am  led  to  imagine  that  they  could  not 
act  with  the  same  decisive  energy  towards  their  natural 
enemies  while  they  doubted  of  our  conduct.  He  admitted 
this.  I  proceed  then  a  little  further,  premising  that  this 
conversation  must  be  considered  as  merely  from  one  gen- 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  347 

tleman  to  another.  In  case  of  a  war  with  the  House  of 
Bourbon,  which,  if  it  does  not  happen  this  year  or  the 
next,  will  probably  happen  within  twenty  years — which  is 
but  a  moment  in  the  age  of  empires— we  can  give  the 
West  Indian  Islands  to  whom  we  please  without  engaging 
in  the  war  at  all,  and  that  we  shall  certainly  in  such  case 
consider  whether  it  is  our  interest  that  they  should  be 
subject  to  England  or  France,  and  act  accordingly.  He 
feels  this  observation,  and  unwarily  lets  me  see  that  this 
point  has  presented  itself  forcibly  to  their  consideration. 
Having  gone  as  far  in  this  line  as  appears  proper,  I  take 
a  short  turn  in  my  subject  and  tell  him  that  I  had  waited 
with  great  patience  during  the  negotiations  which  were 
carrying  on  here,  because  I  supposed  that  they  would  nat 
urally  square  their  conduct  towards  us  by  their  position  in 
respect  to  other  nations.  He  did  not  like  this  remark  at 
all,  having  too  much  of  truth  in  it !  I  added  that  as  the 
Northern  Courts  are  now  at  peace,  and  I  suppose  they  have 
come  to  their  final  decisions  with  respect  to  the  House  of 
Bourbon,  I  thought  it  probable  that  they  were  prepared 
to  speak  definitely  to  us.  I  wait  here  for  his  answer,  buf 
he  has  none  to  give,  being  tolerably  well  embarrassed,  and 
that  embarrassment  is  as  good  an  answer  as  I  wish.  He 
changes  the  conversation  a  little,  and  asks  me  what  the 
United  States  will  think  of  the  undefined  claim  of  Spain 
to  America  ;  I  am  very  willing  to  be  pumped,  and  there 
fore  I  tell  him  carelessly  that  I  don't  think  it  will  make 
any  impression  upon  our  minds,  for  that  the  Spaniards 
are  in  fact  so  apprehensive  of  us  that  they  are  disposed  to 
sacrifice  a  great  deal  for  our  friendship  ;  that  the  only 
reason  they  had  for  withholding  the  navigation  of  the 
Mississippi  River  was  from  the  apprehension  of  a  contra 
band  trade,  which  was  the  reason  why,  in  my  opinion,  they 
must  stake  the  last  man  and  the  last  shilling  upon  the 


present  affair  of  Nootka  Sound,  rather  than  admit  the 
right  of  selling  there  by  British  subjects.  He  owns  that 
the  danger  of  contraband  ought  to  be  considered  in  deal 
ing  on  this  subject,  for  that  nations,  like  individuals, 
ought  to  treat  with  candor  and  honesty.  I  tell  him  that  if 
they  come  to  any  determination  speedily,  I  could  wish  to 
be  apprised  of  it.  He  says  that  I  shall,  and  offers  to  com 
municate  with  General  Washington  through  me,  and  for 
that  purpose  to  address  his  letters  to  me  in  France  ;  but  I 
tell  him  that  his  own  packets  will  give  a  more  direct  op 
portunity,  and  take  my  leave.  On  the  whole,  I  find  that 
my  conjectures  are  just.  I  think  they  will  rather  concede 
a  little  than  go  to  war  with  Spain,  if  France  is  in  force  to 
join  her  ally,  but  they  want  to  be  in  a  position  to  deal  ad 
vantageously  with  us  in  case  they  should  find  it  necessary. 
I  believe  the  debates  in  council  on  this  subject  have  been 
pretty  high,  and  that  the  American  party  has  been  out 
voted,  or  else  that  in  feeling  the  ground  they  have  found 
themselves  too  weak  to  bring  forward  the  question." 

Morris  left  London  on  the  24th  of  September,  but  before 
returning  to  Paris  he  took  a  short  run  on  the  Continent  by 
way  of  refreshment  and  recreation.  Letters  of  introduc 
tion  opened  pleasant  houses  to  him  in  many  of  the  towns, 
and  his  taste  for  art  led  him  to  halt  and  at  least  glance 
at  the  best  sights  that  Ghent  and  other  cities  on  the  way 
had  to  show.  The  smallest  incidents  of  this,  as,  indeed, 
of  all  his  journeys,  are  carefully  jotted  down  in  the  diary. 
At  Ghent  he  was  not  a  little  interested  in  the  superstitions 
of  his  guide,  "who,"  he  says,  "had  served  a  long  time 
in  the  French  Army,  which  is  not  the  school  of  most  rigid 
superstition,  and  who  pointed  out  to  me  in  my  walk— 
which  he  took  care  should  be  through  the  streets  where 
the  patriots  and  soldiery  fought — the  marks  of  many 
musket-balls  in  the  wall  of  a  house  against  which  was  an 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR    MORRIS.  349 

image  either  of  the  Virgin  or  her  Son — I  forget  which — 
and,  miraculously,  not  a  bullet  had  touched  that  sacred  spot. 
Chance  might  have  done  this,  was  the  first  idea  which  en 
tered  the  unbelieving  noddle  of  a  Protestant,  but,  after  pass 
ing,  I  looked  back,  and  found  that  the  miracle  would  have 
been  to  have  hit  it,  for  it  stood  on  a  corner-house  exactly 
out  of  the  line  of  fire.  I  might  therefore  very  easily  have 
explained  this  miracle  ;  but  if  I  should  convince  him  of  the 
folly  of  the  faith  he  has  held  for  above  sixty  years,  'tis  ten 
to  one  if  he  could  now  find  a  better,  and  therefore  it  is 
best  to  leave  him  in  possession  of  his  present  property." 

"At  Bonn  [October  ipth]  I  wait  on  the  French  minister 
with  a  letter  from  the  Comte  de  Montmorin.  He  is  at  the 
door  when  I  inquire  for  him,  and  takes  the  letter  to  de 
liver  it.  This  is  a  little  whimsical,  but  I  am  rather  en  des 
habille',  so  that  he  does  not,  I  believe,  know  what  to  make 
of  me.  However,  after  reading  the  letter  he  is  very  atten 
tive,  which  explains  itself  naturally  enough  by  his  urging 
me  to  stay  to-morrow,  that  he  may  comply  with  the  orders 
of  the  Comte  de  Montmorin,  qui  sont  tres  particuliers. 
Madame  de  Chastellux  has  also  mentioned  me." 

"  Go  to  dine  with  the  minister  the  day  after  my  arrival. 
In  the  evening  there  is  an  assembly,  which  I  find  is  col 
lected  on  purpose.  The  Archduke,  late  Governor  of  the 
Low  Countries,  is  here,  to  whom  I  am  presented,  and  con 
verse  with  him  a  little  about  the  affairs  of  Brabant.  I  have 
some  conversation  also  with  the  Minister  of  the  Finances, 
who  is  quick  and  sensible.  After  the  company  are  gone  the 
Count  takes  me  into  his  cabinet  to  communicate  a  me'moire 
he  has  written  on  the  claims  of  the  German  princes  to 
feudal  rights  in  Alsace.  On  the  whole,  I  am  persuaded 
that  M.  de  Montmorin's  letter  has  contained  everything 
which  I  could  have  wished." 

Travelling  all  day  over  decidedly  bad  roads,  with  slow 


horses  and  obstinate  postilions,  required  patience — par 
ticularly  when  a  very  bad  dinner,  cooked  for  the  passen 
gers  who  arrived  an  hour  before,  and  re'chauff^  was  to 
complete  the  day.  The  compensation,  however,  was 
charming  scenery,  thoroughly  enjoyed  because  not  passed 
at  the  rate  of  forty  miles  an  hour.  Morris  stopped  a  night 
at  pretty  Schwalbach,  nestling  in  its  deep  ravine,  and 
already  a  "  watering-place  of  great  resort,"  he  says.  Then 
on  through  Wiesbaden  and  Frankfort  to  Darmstadt.  Not 
unlike  Arthur  Young,  Morris  always  noted  the  condition 
of  the  soil,  and  the  prosperity  of  the  countries  he  passed 
through,  but  with  occasionally  a  pardonable  comparison 
not  unfavorable  to  America. 

"I  reach  Diebourg  to-day  [October  25th].  The  Baron 
de  Groshlaer  and  his  family  receive  me  kindly.  Shortly 
after  the  first  compliments  and  a  dish  of  tea,  we  retire  to 
gether.  I  ask  him  the  character  of  the  Emperor.  He 
confirms  the  idea  I  had  taken  up  of  him.  fteaven  knows 
how  or  why  he  shares  his  confidence  between  Manfredi, 

the  governor  of  his  children,  and ,  who  was  a  long 

time  minister  to  the  Court  of  France.  The  first  is  an 
artful,  sensible,  sly  fellow,  and  his  turn  of  mind  is  suited 
to  the  temper  and  character  of  Leopold.  The  other  is 
really  a  man  of  sense  and  a  man  of  business.  There  is  a 
third,  whose  name  I  do  not  distinctly  hear,  who  is  of  great 
genius,  but  indolent  and  epicurean.  Shortly  before  he  left 
Frankfort,  Leopold  seemed  to  give  much  of  his  confidence 
to  Colloredo,  but  this  (as  the  others  were  gone  away) 
might  have  arisen  as  much  from  the  need  of  counsel  as 
from  any  preference  as  to  the  counsellors.  The  Baron  is 
of  opinion  that  both  England  and  Prussia  will  try  hard  to 
gain  the  Emperor,  and  will  offer  him  French  Flanders, 
Artois,  and  a  part  of  Picardy,  to  desert  the  Northern 
League.  He  says  that  Leopold  is  sore  on  account  of  the 

I790-]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  351 

insults  offered  his  sister,  the  Queen  of  France,  but  he  does 
not  think  the  German  princes  who  have  claims  on  Alsace 
and  Lorraine  will  be  able  to  obtain  much  aid,  if  any.  In 
deed,  I  think  so  too,  for  the  contest  will  cost  vastly  more 
than  the  object  is  worth.  He  imagines  that  the  Duchy  of 
Juliers  will  be  the  desired  object  of  his  Prussian  Majesty, 
and  this  may  be  the  case,  because  he  is  not  an  able  man." 

"  At  Mannheim  [October  28th]  I  visit  the  Baron  de  Dol- 
berg.  He  says  that  the  Vicomte  de  Mirabeau  had  a  long 
interview  with  Leopold  at  Frankfort,  and  pressed  him  to 
undertake  a  counter-revolution  in  France,  but  he  smiled, 
and  told  him  that  it  was  an  impracticable  project.  He 
thinks  the  administration  in  France  was  so  bad  as  to  occa 
sion  and  justify  a  revolution,  but  quaere  ;  the  Baron  tells 
me  that  the  enmity  of  Austria  to  Prussia  is  at  the  greatest 
imaginable  height  ;  the  Emperor  has  in  his  possession 
the  original  correspondence  for  exciting  a  general  revolt 
in  his  dominions  the  instant  a  war  should  break  out  with 
Prussia.  I  ask  if  this  will  not  lead  the  Emperor  to  avenge 
the  meditated  injury.  He  says  that  it  will  probably  fester 
inwardly  till  a  fit  occasion  offers.  He  tells  me  that  the 
Austrian  General  says  there  are  forty  thousand  troops 
ordered  to  the  Low  Countries.  He  showed  him  the  list. 
This,  with  the  army  already  there,  will  amount  to  fifty 
thousand  men — too  much  if  other  powers  stand  neuter, 
and  too  little  if  they  do  not." 

"  At  Strasbourg  [October  3oth]  I  learn  that  the  Comte 
de  la  Luzerne  has  resigned  and  that  most  of  the  other  min 
isters  will  go  soon  ;  that  the  affairs  of  France  are  what  I 
supposed  they  about  this  time  would  be." 

"Arrived  in  Paris  on  November  6th.  I  take  up  my 
quarters  at  the  Hotel  du  Roi.  After  I  am  dressed,  take  a 
fiacre  and  visit  at  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  She  is  abroad, 
but  Monsieur  presses  me  much  to  pass  the  evening.  I  go 


to  club,  where  I  find  the  aristocratic  sentiment  prevails  not 
a  little.  Again  go  to  the  Louvre.  Madame  is  at  the 
Comedie.  She  returns,  and  seems  glad  to  see  me.  I  find 
that  Lord  Wycombe  is  un  ennichd id.  Dine  at  Madame  de 
Segur's.  They  put  me  a  little  au  fait  of  what  is  going 
on.  The  Comte  de  Montmorin  gives  me  a  very  flattering 
reception.  See  M.  de  Lafayette,  who  affects  to  be  very  well 
pleased  to  see  me.  I  promise  to  dine  with  him  soon." 

"  When  I  go  to-day  [November  8th]  to  Lafayette's  din 
ner,  he  is  so  late  that  he  does  not  sit  down  till  we  have  half 
dined  ;  retires  soon  after,  and  we  have  not  time  to  hold  the 
conversation  which  he  wished.  After  leaving  here  I  meet 
the  Bishop  of  Autun  at  the  Louvre,  and  desire  him  to  ad 
vise  Lafayette  to  the  same  conduct  which  I  have  done  in 
a  very  delicate  circumstance.  He  has  obtained  from  the 
King  a  promise  to  choose  his  guard  among  the  late  Garde 
Fran^aise,  and  the  Jacobins  are  violent  on  the  occasion. 
He  says  that  he  has  a  right,  in  talking  to  the  King,  to  give 
his  opinion  as  well  as  any  other  citizen.  I  tell  him  he 
should  put  himself  on  different  ground,  and  say  that  he 
has  earnestly  recommended  the  measure  to  the  King,  it 
being  a  tribute  of  gratitude  to  those  brave  men  who  had 
so  signally  distinguished  themselves  in  favor  of  freedom. 
The  Bishop  is  entirely  of  my  opinion  and  will  speak,  but 
he  observes,  very  justly,  that  it  is  much  easier  to  convince 
Lafayette  than  to  determine  his  conduct." 

"To-day  [November  9th]  I  have  a  long  conversation 
with  Short  on  general  matters  and  matters  relating  to 
America.  I  tell  him  that  Robert  Morris's  contract  with 
the  farm,  which  Jefferson  considered  as  a  monopoly,  was 
the  only  means  of  destroying  that  monopoly  of  tobacco  in 
Virginia,  by  the  Scotch  factors,  which  really  existed. 
Give  him  some  reason  therefor.  We  have  a  few  words 
on  Lafayette's  subject.  He  expresses  his  astonishment  at 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  353 

this  man's  inaptitude  and  imbecility.  Poor  Lafayette ! 
He  begins  to  suffer  the  consequences  which  always  attend 
too  great  elevation.  II  s*  eclipse  au premier.  Short  also  tells 
me  that  La  Rochefoucault  is  terribly  puzzled  about  the 
affairs  of  impositions.  I  reply  that  this  is  always  the  case 
when  men  bring  metaphysical  ideas  into  the  business  of 
the  world ;  that  none  know  how  to  govern  but  those  who 
have  been  used  to  it,  and  such  men  have  rarely  either  time 
or  inclination  to  write  about  it.  The  books,  therefore, 
which  are  to  be  met  with  contain  mere  Utopian  ideas. 
After  this  I  go  to  the  salon  of  Madame  de  Flahaut,  and 
stay  out  the  company.  The  Comte  de  Luxembourg  has, 
according  to  custom,  much  to  whisper.  I  tell  him,  in 
plain  terms,  that  the  aristocratic  party  must  be  quiet  un 
less  they  wish  to  be  hanged." ' 

"While  in  London  I  bought  a  large  Newfoundland  dog  for 
the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  To-day  [November  loth]  I  take 
him  to  the  Palais  Royal,  where  I  go  to  dine  and  present 
him  to  her  Royal  Highness,  who  appears  much  pleased,  and 
the  Vicomte  de  Segur  Me  prend  en  amitie.'  Cela  s'entend. 
The  Count  and  I  take  a  turn  round  the  gardens  together, 
and  then  I  go  to  the  club,  where  I  murder  a  little  time.  It 
has  been  a  fine  day.  I  think  I  never  in  my  life  had  so 
many  different  things  agitating  my  mind  as  at  present, 
and  I  cannot  commence  one  affair  because  another  is  con 
stantly  obtruding.  Madame  de  Brehan  says  if  the  troubles 
last  she  will  go  and  live  with  me  in  America.  I  of  course 
agree  to  the  arrangement." 

"After  dinner  [November  i2th],  go  to  the  opera.  I  sit 
behind  my  fickle  friend  Madame  de  Flahaut,  and  as,  luck 
ily,  the  music  makes  me  always  grave,  I  keep  still  in  the 
sentimental  style.  The  Comtesse  de  Prize  is  here,  to  whom 
I  pay  my  respects  in  the  adjoining  box.  After  the  opera 
luckily  I  meet  Madame  Foucault,  and  luckily  she  receives 


me  particularly  well.  I  take  care,  for  many  reasons,  that 
my  countenance  shall  beam  with  satisfaction.  Luckily  she 
expresses  herself  to  Madame  in  terms  very  favorable  to 

On  Saturday,  November  131!),  the  populace  pillaged  the 
hotel  of  the  Due  de  Castries.  This  was  about  the  first  of 
this  kind  of  depredation  in  Paris.  The  occasion  of  it,  Mor 
ris  says,  "is  that  the  Due  de  Castries  has  wounded  their 
favorite,  Charles  de  la  Meth,  in  a  duel,  which  he  had  drawn 
upon  himself  by  insulting  the  Duke.  The  history  seems 
curious.  M.  de  Chauvigny  comes  to  Paris  for  the  pur 
pose  of  fighting  with  Charles  de  la  Meth,  who,  as  he  says, 
fermented  an  insurrection  in  the  regiment  to  which  he 
belongs.  All  this  I  learned  at  M.  Boutin's,  where  M.  de 
Chauvigny,  introduced  by  his  brother,  a  bishop,  related 
what  had  passed  on  the  subject.  He  had  called  on  M.  de 
la  Meth,  whose  friends,  at  a  rendezvous  given,  told  him  that 
M.  de  la  Meth  would  not  fight  till  the  constitution  was  fin 
ished.  The  other  replied  that  he  must  in  that  case,  until 
the  completion  of  it,  continue  to  assert  on  every  occasion 
that  M.  de  la  Meth  was  a  coward.  This  thing  being  again 
in  question  at  the  Assemblee,  De  la  Meth  declared  that  he 
would  not  have  an  affair  with  Chauvigny  until  he  had  set 
tled  with  the  Due  de  Castries  (colonel  of  the  regiment) 
'  qui  m'a  detache  ce  spadassin-la.'  De  Castries,  of  course, 
requires  satisfaction,  and  they  proceed  to  the  ground, 
where  the  friends  of  De  la  Meth,  who  is  an  excellent 
swordsman,  object  to  his  fighting  with  pistols.  De  Cas 
tries,  like  a  true  chevalier,  agrees  to  decide  the  matter  aux 
armes  blanches,  and  wounds  his  antagonist.  The  populace 
in  consequence  destroy  the  property  of  his  father.  This 
is  rare  ;  I  think  it  will  produce  some  events  which  are  not 
now  dreamt  of.  The  Assemblee  (in  the  hands  of  the  Jaco 
bins)  have,  it  is  said,  sanctioned  the  doings  of  this  day." 

1790. j  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  355 

"  This  morning  [November  i4th]  the  Comte  de  Moustier 
calls  on  me.  We  discuss  his  plan  of  a  constitution  together, 
and  he  tells  me  that  he  stands  better  at  court  than  ever  he 
expected.  He  says  he  is  personally  in  favor  with  the 
Queen,  and  he  expects  to  be  consulted  on  affairs  by  and 
by.  The  King  and  Queen,  he  tells  me,  are  determined  not 
to  abuse  their  authority  if  ever  they  recover  it.  He  tells 
me  incidentally  that  both  the  King  and  Queen  have  men 
tioned  me  to  him,  the  former  twice,  and  that  I  stand  well 
in  their  opinion.  This  may  perhaps  be  useful  to  my  coun 
try  at  some  future  period. 

"  Visit  Madame  de  Flahaut.  It  seems  to  me  from  ap 
pearances  that  Lord  Wycombe  is  expected,  and  I  tell  her 
so,  but  she  says  it  is  the  Bishop.  Company  come  in  im 
mediately  after  me — Madame  de  Laborde  and  Madame  de 
la  Tour,  after  them  Montesqutou;  and  while  we  are  all 
here  enter  Lord  Wycombe,  who  is  at  once  established  as 
the  person  to  whom  a  rendezvous  is  given.  We  all  go 
away,  but  I  presently  after  return  and  tell  her,  *  Que  je  lui 
serai  a  charge  pour  quelques  moments  de  plus.'  My  Lord 
is  more  disconcerted  than  my  lady.  He  seems  not  yet  ad 
vanced  to  the  point  which  these  things  tend  to.  Go  from 
hence  to  club,  where  I  find  there  are  some  who  justify  the 
populace  for  yesterday's  business.  M.  de  Moustier  told 
me  that  Montmorin  had  asked  for  Carmichael  as  minister 
at  this  Court,  which  might  excite  opposition  to  Madison 
and  Short,  the  present  competitors.  It  is  a  question  in  my 
mind  as  to  this  request  having  been  made  by  Montmorin." 

"  I  hear  to-day  [November  i5th]  at  Madame  de  Chastel- 
lux's  the  wish  of  the  Garde  des  Sceaux  *  to  converse  with 

*  M.  Duport  du  Tertre,  a  member  of  the  electoral  body  of  Paris,  became 
Garde  des  Sceaux,  or,  rather,  Minister  of  Justice  (for  the  post  of  chancellor  was 
abolished  soon  after  he  came  into  the  ministry)  early  in  November,  1790.  At 
this  time,  of  the  old  ministry  there  only  remained  Saint-Priest  of  the  Interior, 
and  Montmorin  of  Foreign  Affairs.  The  advent  of  M.  Duport  du  Tertre  ex- 

356  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  XVI. 

me.  I  promise  to  wait  upon  him.  The  Duchess  of  Or 
leans  reproaches  me  for  absenting  myself,  and  I  promise 
to  dine  with  her  to-morrow.  At  eight  o'clock  I  go  by  ap 
pointment  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's.  She  has  not  returned 
from  the  Varietes,  but  desires  I  will  wait.  I  am  unluckily 
obliged  to  do  so,  having  promised  Capellis  to  spend  the 
evening  here.  At  half  after  eight  she  comes  in,  and  Ma 
demoiselle  Duplessis  *  with  her.  I  show  more  ill-humor 
than  consists  with  good  sense  or  politeness  ;  at  least,  sucli 
would  be  the  opinion  of  most  observers.  She  is  full  of 
apologies,  but  I  treat  both  them  and  her  like  a  Turk.  She 
is  very  conciliating  in  her  manner  and  words,  and  proposes 
a  rendezvous  for  to-morrow  evening,  which  I  refuse  to 
accept  of.  At  length,  however,  she  prevails,  but  as  we  go 
in  to  supper  together  I  tell  her  that  she  will  probably  fail 
if  a  new  comedy  offers  itself." 

"To-day  [November  i6th],  according  to  my  promise,  I 
dine  at  the  Palais  Royal,  and,  as  the  Princess  is  alone  when 
I  come  in,  I  converse  a  little  with  her  in  a  manner  to  gain 
somewhat  on  her  good  will.  After  dinner  I  keep  my  ren 
dezvous  with  Madame  de  Flahaut,  but  I  find  her  surround 
ed.  Lord  Wycombe,  the  Comte  de  Luxembourg,  M.  de  St. 
Foi  are  there,  so  I  leave.  My  letters  to-day  are  not  pleas 
ant.  M.  de  Flahaut  expresses  a  wish  to  go  as  minister  to 
America,  and  desires  me  to  prevail  on  his  wife  to  consent 
to  such  a  step,  should  it  become  possible  to  obtain  the 
place.  I  promise  to  speak  to  her  on  the  subject.  Go 
and  sit  some  time  with  Madame  de  Montmorin.  She 
expresses  her  conviction  that  Lafayette  is  below  his  busi- 

cited  great  enthusiasm  in  ministerial  circles.  He  was  a  simple,  modest  man 
with  a  limited  fortune,  and  of  recognized  uprightness  of  character.  He  signed 
the  order  of  arrest  of  the  fugitive  king,  and  finally  lost  his  head  in  June, 

*  Mademoiselle  Duplessis  was  a  member  of  Madame  de  Flahaut's  fam- 


ness,  which  is  very  true.  She  says  that  the  Queen  will  not 
consent  to  make  her  husband  governor  of  the  children  of 
France  ;  that  the  aristocrats  abhor  him.  At  dinner  we 
converse  about  the  play  of  this  evening,  *  Brutus,'  which  is 
expected  to  excite  much  disturbance.  After  six  o'clock 
Bouinville  and  I  go  to  the  play.  At  leaving  the  roopi,  as 
it  is  supposed  that  there  will  be  three  parties  in  the  house, 
I  cry,  in  a  style  of  rant,  'Je  me  declare  pour  le  Roi,  et 
je  vole  a  lavictoire.'  We  cannot  find  seats,  wherefore  I  go 
to  the  loge  of  d'Angivilliers,  and  find  that  I  was  expected, 
having  promised  to  come  and  then  forgotten  it.  Lord 
Wycombe  is  established  here,  next  to  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut,  in  the  place  which  I  occupied  formerly.  St.  Foi  is 
here,  a  cunning  observer.  I  determine,  therefore,  to  play 
them  all  three,  and  I  think  succeed  pretty  well.  Propose 
to  her  to  make  the  old  fox  believe  she  is  attached  to  the 
young  lord,  which  she  exclaims  against.  She  is,  however, 
resolved,  I  think,  to  attach  him,  and  may  perhaps  singe 
her  wings  while  she  flutters  around  that  flame.  The  piece 
excites  a  great  deal  of  noise  and  altercation,  but  the  parterre 
filled  with  democrats  obtains  the  victory  clearly,  and,  hav 
ing  obtained  it,  roars  for  above  ten  minutes,  'Vive  le  Roi.' 
After  the  play  a  motion  is  made  to  place  the  bust  of  Vol 
taire  on  the  stage  and  crown  it,  which  is  complied  with 
amid  repeated  acclamations.  I  write,  for  the  amusement 
of  our  party,  these  lines  : 

See,  France,  in  Freedom's  mantle  gay, 

Her  former  state  disdains, 
Yet  proud  her  fav'rite  Bard  t'obey, 

Tho'  dead,  his  spirit  reigns. 

The  common  road  to  power  he  trod, 
Cried,  '  Pull  all  tyrants  down,' 

And,  making  of  the  mob  a  god, 
Has  gained  from  them  a  crown. 

358  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [CHAP.  XVI. 

I  give  them  to  Madame  de  Flahaut,  desiring  her  to  pass 
them  to  my  lord.  He  is  well  pleased  with  them,  and  this, 
as  it  enables  her  to  magnify  her  merits  by  her  friends, 
must  of  course  please  her.  She  wishes  to  fix  an  appoint 
ment  with  me  for  Friday  morning,  but  I  desire  her  to 
write  her  hour  in  season  for  me  to  reply,  that,  if  there  be 
anything  to  prevent  my  attendance,  I  can  inform  her.  She 
is  a  coquette,  and  very  fickle." 

"  Go  to  dine  with  the  Garde  des  Sceaux  [November 
i8th].  His  domestics  know  not  what  to  make  of  me,  a 
thing  which  frequently  happens  at  my  first  approach,  be 
cause  the  simplicity  of  my  dress  and  equipage,  my  wooden 
leg,  and  tone  of  republican  equality  seem  totally  mis 
placed  at  the  levee  of  a  minister.  He  is  yet  in  his  closet. 
I  find  in  the  circle  no  one  of  my  acquaintance  except  Du- 
pont  the  economist,  who  never  took  notice  of  a  letter  I 
brought  from  his  son,  and  seems  a  little  ashamed  of  it. 
The  reception  of  the  minister  is  flattering  and  his  atten 
tions  great,  so  that  those  who  had  placed  themselves  next 
him  feel  themselves  misplaced.  After  dinner  he  takes  me 
aside  to  know  my  sentiments.  I  tell  him  that  I  consider 
the  Revolution  a  project  that  has  failed  ;  that  the  evils  of 
anarchy  must  restore  authority  to  the  sovereign  ;  that  he 
ought  to  continue  a  mere  instrument  in  the  hands  of  the 
Assembly,  etc.  As  to  him,  the  minister,  he  should,  when 
he  quits  his  place,  go  directly  from  the  King's  closet  to  his 
seat  in  the  Assembly,  and  there  become  the  advocate  of 
royal  authority:  He  approves  of  my  ideas,  except  for  him 
self,  and  says  he  has  need  of  repose.  This  is  idle,  and 
I  tell  him  so.  Ask  him  whether  he  intends  to  resign 
(Madame  de  Flahaut  told  me  so  last  evening,  having 
learned  it  from  her  Bishop).  He  says  that  he  knows 
nothing  about  it ;  that  he  shall  retire  whenever  the  King 
pleases.  After  our  conversation  the  Abbe  d'Andrezelle  has 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  359 

a  long  entretien.  He  tells  me  of  a  society  formed  for  a  cor 
respondence  with  the  provinces  to  counteract  the  Jacobins. 
I  give  him  some  ideas  on  that  subject  for  which  he  ex 
presses  himself  to  be  much  obliged,  and  asks  me  to  be 
present  at  one  of  their  meetings,  which  I  consent  to." 

"  I  am  pressed  by  the  Bishop  d'Autun  to  stay  to  dinner 
at  the  Louvre  [November  i9th],  but  I  go  to  the  Palais 
Royal.  We  meet  here  the  Due  de  Laval.  After  dinner  I 
have  some  conversation  with  him  and  the  Comte  de  Thiard, 
from  whence  I  apprehend  that  a  serious  plan  is  laid  for 
introducing  troops  of  the  Emperor  in  order  to  liberate  the 
King  and  Queen,  and  restore  the  former  government. 
After  dinner  go  to  the  Comedie  Francaise,  and  sit  with  the 
Duchess  to  hear  '  Brutus.'  Thence  to  Madame  de  Segur's, 
where  I  take  up  Madame  de  Chastellux.  They  lament  to 
me  that  Lafayette  has  lost  his  influence.  In  the  way  home 
she  tells  me  that  she  is  persuaded  there  will  be  an  effort 
made  by  the  Emperor  in  favor  of  his  sister.  I  hinted  to 
the  Comte  de  Thiard  the  advantages  that  would  result 
from  putting  the  Dauphin  into  the  hands  of  governors, 
and  sending  him  upon  his  travels.  Many  of  the  discon 
tented  nobles  and  clergy  of  France  are  urgent  with  the 
chief  of  the  empire  to  avenge  the  insults  offered  to  his  un 
fortunate  sister.  So  fair  a  pretext,  such  plausible  reasons, 
both  public  and  private,  joined  to  a  great  political  interest 
and  personal  territorial  claims,  might  determine  an  enter 
prising  prince.  But  he  is  cautious,  trusting  more  in  art 
than  in  force..  How  will  it  all  end  ?  This  unhappy  coun 
try,  bewildered  in  the  pursuit  of  metaphysical  whimsies, 
presents  to  one's  moral  view  a  mighty  ruin.  Like  the 
remnantsof  ancient  magnificence,  we  admire  the  architect 
ure  of  the  temple,  while  we  detest  the  false  god  to  whom 
it  was  dedicated.  Daws  and  ravens,  and  the  birds  of  night 
now  build  their  nests  in  its  niches ;  the  sovereign,  hum- 


bled  to  the  level  of  a  beggar's  pity,  without  resources, 
without  authority,  without  a  friend;  the  Assembly,  at  once 
a  master  and  a  slave — new  in  power,  wild  in  theory,  raw 
in  practice,  it  engrosses  all  functions,  though  incapable  of 
exercising  any,  and  has  taken  from  this  fierce,  ferocious 
people  every  restraint  of  religion  and  of  respect.  Here 
conjecture  may  wander  through  unbounded  space.  What 
sum  of  misery  may  be  requisite  to  change  popular  will, 
calculation  cannot  determine.  What  circumstances  may 
arise  in  the  order  of  divine  will  to  give  direction  to  that 
will,  our  sharpest  vision  cannot  discover.  What  talents 
may  be  found  to  seize  those  circumstances  to  influence 
that  will,  and,  above  all,  to  moderate  the  power  which  it 
must  confer,  we  are  equally  ignorant.  One  thing  only 
seems  to  be  tolerably  ascertained,  that  the  glorious  op 
portunity  is  lost,  and  (for  this  time  at  least)  the  Revolution 
has  failed." 

"The  Bishop  comes  in  [November  23d]  while  I  am  at 
Madame  de  Flahaut's  to-day,  and  as  my  carriage  was  sent 
away  he  is  grave.  Leave  them,  and  go  to  the  Comte  de 
Montmorin's.  Before  dinner,  the  Due  de  Liancourt  and 
Montesquiou  being  there,  in  the  course  of  conversation  on 
the  actings  and  doings  of  the  Assemblee,  I  say  that  the 
constitution  they  have  proposed  is  such  that  the  Almighty 
himself  could  not  make  it  succeed  without  creating  a  new 
species  of  man.  After  dinner  I  converse  a  little  with 
Montmorin  about  his  own  situation.  He  feels  himself 
very  awkward,  not  knowing  whether  to  stay  or  go,  or,  stay 
ing,  what  to  clo.  Montesquiou  comes  up,  and  asks  in 
formation  from  me  respecting  the  debt  from  America  to 
France.  In  the  result  of  his  inquiries  it  is  agreed  between 
him  and  Montmorin  that  no  proposition  shall  be  accepted 
without  taking  first  my  opinion  on  it.  Go  from  hence  to 
Madame  de  Segur's.  A  little  comedy  is  acted  here  by  the 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  361 

children,  the  subject  of  which  is  the  pleasure  derived  to  the 
whole  family  by  an  infant  of  which  the  countess  was  late 
ly  delivered.  The  play  is  written  by  the  father  to  whom 
I  address  in  the  course  of  it  these  lines : 

For  perfecting  the  comic  art, 

Let  others  take  a  single  part — 

While  you,  my  friend,  with  nobler  soul, 

Embrace  at  once  the  mighty  whole  ; 

For  here  we  see  arise  from  you, 

The  subject,  play,  and  actors  too. 

As  soon  as  the  piece  is  finished  I  slip  away.  Madame  de 
Lafayette,  who  was  here,  reproaches  me  a  little  for  desert 
ing  them.  Monsieur  has  long  been  giddy  from  his  eleva 
tion.  When  he  is  a  little  sober  I  will  see  whether  he  can 
any  longer  be  useful  to  his  country  or  mine.  I  rather 
doubt  it.  Go  to  the  Louvre,  and  find  Madame  has  quar 
relled  with  her  Bishop,  who  is  jealous  of  me.  In  conse 
quence  of  the  quarrel  she  is  very  ill,  and  surrounded  by 
friends  and  servants. 

"  After  dining  with  Madame  de  Foucault  [November 
25th]  I  go  to  Lafayette's  ;  Madame  receives  me  coolly 
enough.  I  stay  some  time,  leaning  on  the  chimney- 
piece.  He  comes  out,  and  as  soon  as  he  sees  me  ap 
proaches.  Asks  why  I  do  not  come  to  see  him.  I  answer 
that  I  do  not  like  to  mix  with  the  crowd  which  I  find  here ; 
that  whenever  I  can  be  useful,  I  am  at  his  orders.  He 
asks  my  opinion  of  his  situation.  I  give  it  sans  menage- 
ment,  and  while  I  speak  he  turns  pale.  I  tell  him  that  the 
time  approaches  when  all  good  men  must  cling  to  the 
throne  ;  that  the  present  King  is  very  valuable  on  account 
of  his  moderation,  and  if  he  should  possess  too  great  au 
thority  might  be  persuaded  to  grant  a  proper  constitution  ; 
that  the  thing  called  a  constitution  which  the  Assembly 
have  framed  is  good  for  nothing ;  that  as  to  himself,  his 


personal  situation  is  very  delicate  ;  that  he  nominally,  but 
not  really,  commands  his  troops  ;  that  I  really  cannot  tell 
how  he  is  to  establish  discipline  among  them,  but  that 
unless  he  can  accomplish  that  object  he  must  be  ruined 
sooner  or  later ;  that  the  best  line  of  conduct,  perhaps, 
would  be  to  seize  an  occasion  of  disobedience  and  resign, 
by  which  means  he  would  preserve  a  reputation  in  France 
which  would  be  precious,  and  hereafter  useful.  He  says 
that  he  is  only  raised  by  circumstances  and  events,  so  that 
when  they  cease  he  sinks,  and  the  difficulty  comes  in  how 
to  excite  them.  I  take  care  not  to  express  even  by  a  look 
my  contempt  and  abhorrence,  but  simply  observe  that 
events  will  arise  fast  enough  of  themselves  if  he  can  but 
make  a  good  use  of  them,  which  I  doubt,  because  I  do 
not  place  any  confidence  in  his  troops. 

"  He  asks  what  I  think  of  a  plan  in  agitation  with  re 
spect  to  the  protesting  Bishops  ;  viz.,  to  withhold  their 
revenues.  I  tell  him  that  the  Assemblee  must  turn  them 
out  of  doors  naked  if  they  wish  the  people  to  clothe  them. 
He  says  he  is  a  little  afraid  of  that  consequence.  I  reiter 
ate  to  him  the  necessity  of  restoring  the  nobility,  at  which, 
of  course,  he  flinches,  and  says  he  should  like  two  cham 
bers,  as  in  America.  I  tell  him  that  an  American  consti 
tution  will  not  do  for  this  country,  and  that  two  such 
chambers  would  not  answer  where  there  is  an  hereditary 
executive  ;  that  every  country  must  have  a  constitution 
suited  to  its  circumstances,  and  the  state  of  France  re 
quires  a  higher  toned  government  than  that  of  England. 
He  starts  at  this  with  astonishment.  I  pray  him  to  re 
mark  that  England  is  surrounded  by  a  deep  ditch,  and, 
being  only  assailable  by  sea,  can  permit  many  things  at 
home  which  would  not  be  safe  in  different  situations  ;  that 
her  safety  depends  on  her  marine,  to  the  preservation  of 
which  every  right  and  privilege  of  her  citizens  is  sacri- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  363 

ficed  ;  that  in  all  possible  governments  the  first  care  must 
be  general  preservation.  He  tells  me  the  intended  minis 
ters  ;  they  are  all  taken  from  among  the  people,  and  thus, 
without  knowing  it,  the  people  will  find  an  additional  tie 
to  the  great  envy  of  their  fellows." 

"  Dine  with  Madame  de  Flahaut  [November  27th].  She 
tells  me  that  the  Bishop  is  well  with  the  Queen.  Cela 
s'entend.  She  tells  me  that  De  Moustier  speaks  illy  of  me 
at  Madame  d'Angivilliers.*  He  is  wrong.  Lord  Wycombe 
calls  after  dinner,  and  is  seated  a  cote\  comme  d' usage" 

"At  two  [November  28th]  I  visit  Duportail,f  the  new 
Minister  at  War,  and  go  from  thence  to  the  Louvre. 
Lord  Wycombe  is  here,  and  has  had  the  whole  morning, 
say  from  ten  to  two.  He  goes  away,  being  pressed  by 
Madame  to  return  in  the  evening.  She  says  he  told  her 
that  she  loved  me,  which  at  first  she  laughed  at,  but  after 
ward  seriously  refuted.  She  insists  on  my  partaking  of 
her  dinner.  Monsieur  seems  displeased.  After  dinner  she 
sends  me  with  Mademoiselle  Duplessis  to  visit  Madame  de 
Guibert,  who  gives  me  a  eulogy  on  her  late  husband  by 
one  of  his  friends.  When  we  return,  my  lord  is  established 
a  cott.  The  Marquis  de  Montesquiou  is  merry  at  having 
found  them  so  situated.  I  leave  this  society,  and  visit  Ma 
dame  de  Chastellux.  The  conversation  of  this  last  society 
was  quite  high  in  the  aristocratic  tone.  The  idea  of  car 
rying  off  the  King  is  mentioned.  My  fair  friend  talked  to 
me  of  presenting  to  Lord  Wycombe  the  cup  formerly 
given  to  me,  and  which  I  had  sent  back.  I  think  it  prob 
able  that  she  has  already  bestowed  it  on  him." 

11  Dine  to-day  [November  29th]  at  M.  de  Montmorin's. 

*  In  the  salon  of  Madame  d'Angivilliers,  so  frequented  during  the  eigh 
teenth  century,  and  so  full  of  economic  and  advanced  ideas  of  all  kinds,  the 
Revolution  found  congenial  soil  and  nourished  vigorously. 

t  M.  Duportail  succeeded  M.  la  Tour  du  Pin.  He  had  gained  distinction 
in  the  American  Revolution. 

364.  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF  [CHAP.  XVI. 

Lafayette  comes  in,  and  Madame  de  Montmorin  observes 
that  he  does  not  seem  very  glad  to  see  me.  She  asks  the 
reason.  I  tell  her  that  I  lately  told  him  some  truths  which 
differed  so  much  from  the  style  of  flattery  he  has  been  ac 
customed  to  that  he  is  not  well  pleased  with  it.  Mont 
morin  observes  that  Lafayette  has  not  abilities  enough  to 
carry  through  his  affairs.  He  says  that  within  a  month 
past  things  have  appeared  to  him  much  worse  than  they 
were.  He  seems  apprehensive  of  a  visit  from  foreign 
powers,  and  that  the  Comte  d'Artois  and  Prince  of  Conde 
may  play  a  deep  game.  Nous  verrons.  \  go  to  the  play 
with  Madame  de  Beaumont,  and  am  placed  luckily  oppo 
site  to  my  fair  friend.  I  know  not  whether  she  observes 
me,  but  if  she  does  it  will  be  useful." 

Just  at  this  time  more  frequent  applications  were  made 
to  Morris  for  advice  about  American  lands,  but  he  felt 
that  it  would  hardly  do  for  him  to  bear  the  responsi 
bility  of  "  exciting  French  citizens  to  abandon  their  native 
country."  He  was  therefore  anxious  that  an  office  should 
be  opened  in  Paris  where  maps  could  be  seen  and  titles 
lodged.  Writing  about  this  to  Robert  Morris,  he  says : 
1  Purchasers  here  are  for  the  most  part  ignorant  of  geog 
raphy.  So  far  from  thinking  the  forests  a  disadvantage, 
they  are  captivated  with  the  idea  of  having  their  chateaux 
surrounded  by  magnificent  trees.  They  naturally  expect 
superb  highways  over  the  pathless  desert,  and  see  with  the 
mind's  eye  numerous  barges  in  every  stream.  Le  Coul- 
teux  was  afraid  to  appear  in  the  sale  of  your  lands  lest 
the  fashionable  system  of  the  *  lanterne  '  should  be  applied." 
"  I  go  to  the  Palais  Royal  to-day  [November  3oth]  to 
dine  with  the  Duchess,  but  she  dines  abroad  and  I  go  to 
the  club.  The  restaurateur  is  not  a  good  one  ;  his  wine  is 
very  bad.  Call  at  Madame  de  Segur's.  She  is  in  bed. 
Wishes  to  know  the  purport  of  my  conversation  with  La- 

1790.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  365 

fayette.  I  tell  her  that  I  told  him  many  serious  truths, 
which  were  not  to  his  taste.  I  take  the  Vicomte  de  Segur 
to  Madame  de  Chastellux's,  where  he  reads  a  little  comedy 
called  ;  Le  Nouveau  Cercle,'  which  is  not  without  merit, 
but  he  reads  too  well  to  judge  of  it.  For  the  rest,  he  has 
made  himself  the  principal  character  of  the  piece.  Lady 
Gary  is  here,  an  Irishwoman  who  has,  I  believe,  the  merit 
of  keeping  a  good  house  in  Paris.  Leave  this  at  a  little 
after  nine  and  go  to  the  Louvre.  My  lord  is  here,  of 
course  ;  an  observation  which  I  make  on  the  assignats 
strikes  him  very  forcibly.  If  I  am  not  much  mistaken,  he 
will  quote  it.  His  manner  of  seizing  it  shows  a  discerning 
mind.  Madame  de  Flahaut  apologizes  for  having  been 
abroad  this  morning;  had  I  told  her  I  would  call  she 
would  have  staid  at  home.  I  reply  coolly  that  I  came  late, 
that  I  might  not  interrupt  her  conversation  with  her  new 
friend.  She  feels  this  cutting  sarcasm.  She  passed  the 
day  with  the  Bishop,  whose  leg  is  hurt — a  strain  of  the  an 
kle.  I  let  her  make  inquiries  about  the  play,  where  I  be 
lieve  she  did  not  see  me,  and  my  answers  will  be  a  little 

"  My  letters  are  extremely  disquieting.  I  rise  this  morn 
ing  [December  ist]  before  day,  after  a  night  of  sleepless 
anxiety.  Sit  down  to  write  by  candle-light,  and  get  all  my 
letters  finished  in  season.  Receive  a  note  from  Madame 
de  Flahaut,  desiring  me  to  come  between  ten  and  eleven, 
as  she  is  to  visit  Madame  d'Angiviliers  at  half-past  twelve. 
I  find  her  ill  and  complaining.  I  have  not  the  disposition 
either  to  quarrel  or  enjoy.  Monsieur  desires  me  twice  to 
remind  her,  at  a  quarter  after  twelve,  that  she  is  to  visit 
her  sister.  I  tell  her  that  every  post  since  I  have  been 
here  brings  me  afflicting  intelligence.  She  wishes  to  know 
what  it  is,  but  I  tell  her  that  is  unnecessary ;  I  mention  it 
in  general,  that  she  may  not  be  surprised  at  my  behavior. 


At  twelve  Lord  Wycombe  calls,  and  stays.  I  remind  her 
repeatedly  of  her  engagement  to  her  sister,  and  stay  him 
out,  for  which  I  apologize  to  her.  Go  to  call  on  Le  Coul- 
teux.  He  is  abroad.  Madame  is  going  out,  and  is  half- 
stripped  when  I  enter.  During  the  few  minutes  which  I 
stay  she  mentions  a  curious  anecdote  of  the  Comte  de  Pilau. 
He  is  become  devout  to  a  most  astonishing  degree,  and  in 
all  the  bigotry  of  the  Romish  Church  ;  a  man  who  was 
driven  by  the  priesthood  from  Spain  on  account  of  his  re 
ligion,  or,  rather,  the  want  of  it ;  a  man  who  abandoned 
an  immense  fortune  for  the  sake  of  avoiding  exterior 
ceremonies.  O  God !  how  weak,  how  inconsistent,  how 
wretched  is  man.  Go  to  Mademoiselle  Martin's  and  buy 
a  pot  of  rouge  to  take  to  my  sister  in  London.  I  tell  the 
Bishop  of  Autun  to-day  that  he  ought,  if  possible,  to  ob 
tain  tiie  embassy  to  Vienna." 

"Sir  John  Miller  visits  me  to-day  [December  6th],  and 
talks  of  weights  and  measures.  Dine  at  the  Palais  Royal. 
After  dinner  visit  M.  de  Lafayette.  He  is  in  a  peck  of 
little  troubles.  I  make  my  visit  short.  Madame's  recep 
tion  is  a  la  glace.  Return  to  the  Palais  Royal,  and  take 
Madame  de  Chastellux  to  the  Louvre.  At  coming  away 
Madame  de  Flahaut  desires  me  to  take  her  to  Madame  de 
Corney's.  I  am  quite  indifferent  to  her,  and  she  asks  me 
the  reason.  I  rally  her  on  her  connection  with  my  lord, 
who  is  to  have  this  evening  again,  not  having  had  an  op 
portunity  to  converse  as  he  wished  this  morning.  She 
offers  me  a  present  which  he  made  her,  but  I  tell  her  I 
will  accept  of  nothing  but  a  picture  of  her  now  in  posses 
sion  of  her  Bishop,  and  that  I  will  have  it.  I  tell  her  when 
I  go  away  she  will  forget  me.  This  she  has  long  known. 
I  tell  her  that  my  reception  when  I  last  saw  her  was  such 
that,  if  Madame  de  Chastellux  had  not  asked  me  to  bring 
her,  I  should  not  have  given  the  trouble  of  my  visit. 


Arrived  again  at  the  Louvre,  I  hand  her  out  and  am  about 
to  return,  but  she  insists  on  my  going  up.  Arrived  there, 
I  take  leave,  but  am  persuaded  to  stay  a  little  while.  Her 
pride  speaks  a  high  language.  She  then  either  is,  or  pre 
tends  to  be,  ill.  Monsieur  comes  up,  and  after  a  few  words 
I  again  take  leave,  but  she  begs  me  in  English  to  stay. 
The  Bishop  comes  in;  I  speak  to  him  again  on  the  subject 
of  an  embassy  to  Vienna,  and  mark  out  the  means  of  suc 
ceeding.  I  tell  him  that  at  present  it  is  equally  dangerous 
to  be  either  in  or  out  of  the  Assemblee  ;  that  a  foreign 
embassy  is  the  only  means  of  preserving  himself  en  evidence, 
and  that  if  he  can  make  himself  the  confidential  man  be 
tween  the  Queen  and  her  brother,  he  will  be  in  the  straight 
road  to  greatness,  whenever  circumstances  will  render  it 
desirable.  After  he  is  gone  I  stay  a  few  minutes,  and 
then  follow  him." 

"  I  receive  a  letter  to-day  [December  8th]  brought  by 
the  English  mail  urging  my  departure  for  London.  Go 
to  the  Louvre,  according  to  my  promise,  and  find  Madame 
de  Flahaut  in  bed  writing  to  her  Lord.  ...  In  the 
evening  go  to  the  Palais  Royal  and  attend  the  reading  of  a 
tragedy  written  by  M.  de  Sabran  at  fourteen  years  of  age. 
It  is  very  well  written,  but  before  it  is  finished  I  am  called 
away  by  M.  de  Flahaut.  Return  to  the  Louvre,  and  sup. 
I  lend  Madame  i,2oof.  in  paper  to  redeem  so  much  gold, 
which  she  has  pawned.  I  do  not  expect  to  be  repaid." 

These  last  months  of  1790  found  Paris  in  a  melancholy 
way.  While  the  democratic  revolution,  with  heads  on  pikes, 
went  steadily  and  surely  on,  the  aristocratic  mode  of  help 
ing  a  man  out  of  the  world  went  as  steadily  on  in  the  Bois 
de  Boulogne,  turned  into  a  meeting-place  for  excitements 
of  all  kinds  ;  the  resort  of  lovers,  duellists,  idlers,  and 
tramps  of  every  description.  In  1790  a  challenge  and  a 
rendezvous  under  the  trees  there  was  quite  the  proper 


thing,  and  one  word  spoken  in  anger,  or  the  appearance 
of  a  cockade,  was  sufficient  pretext  for  an  exhibition  of 
skill  with  the  sword — or  the  pistol,  lately  introduced  from 
England,  which  had  met  with  much  applause.  In  vain  the 
authorities  pleaded  the  aristocratic  tendency  of  this  way 
of  settling  differences.  No  one  listened.  People  must  be 
amused.  Paris  was  rapidly  emptying  ;  art  had  gone  ;  the 
dancer  had  gone  ;  the  marc  hands  de  modes  went,  leaving 
Paris  to  the  mercy  of  the  provinces  for  its  fashions,  from 
whence  came  strange  things — bonnets  trimmed  with  yellow 
flowers,  with  the  malicious  suggestion  that  they  were  "  au 
teint  de  la  constitution,"  and  there  seemed  in  this  deserted 
town  to  be  only  "fagotttres"  left.  But  the  roulette-table 
and  duelling  consoled  Paris.  "  Their  patriotism,"  Goncourt 
says,  "they  carried  in  their  white  cockade,  for  they  whis 
pered  and  wrote,  *  The  king  has  abandoned  us  ;  we  are  no 
longer  his  subjects.' " 

i79o.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  369 


Another  trip  to  London.  Stiffness  of  English  society.  Annoying  indiffer 
ence  of  the  Duke  of  Leeds  to  American  interests.  Returns  to  Paris. 
Dines  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Ternant  appointed  Minister 
Plenipotentiary  to  the  United  States.  Conversation  with  M.  de 
Segur.  M.  de  Montmorin  wishes  Morris  appointed  Minister  from 
the  United  States.  Asked  to  confer  with  the  Committee  of  Com 
merce.  Dines  with  Lafayette.  Dines  with  Marmontel.  Lafayette 
vexed.  Madame  de  Nadaillac.  The  "farm  "  abolished  by  the  Assem 
bly.  The  tobacco  decrees.  Desired  to  write  a  letter  on  them. 
Letter  to  Washington  thereupon.  Some  details  of  the  affair  of  Octo 
ber  5th  at  Versailles.  Disturbance  in  Languedoc.  Trepidation  of 
the  Bishop  of  Autun.  Great  tumult  in  Paris.  Conversation  with 
Madame  de  Nadaillac.  The  Chateau  during  the  riot.  Lafayette 
confesses  the  guards  were  drunk.  Morris's  advice  to  him. 

IN  the  early  part  of  December  Morris  again  went 
to  London,  where  very  pressing  affairs  demanded  his 
personal  attention,  and  for  some  weeks,  with  wThat  resig 
nation  he  could  muster,  he  gave  himself  up  to  long,  dull, 
and  extremely  unsatisfactory  conversations  with  city  men. 
Mrs.  Siddons  was  somewhat  of  a  relief  from  the  monotony 
of  business,  but  he  only  speaks  of  seeing  her  a  few  times — 
once  in  "a  very  bad  piece  called  'Isabella,'  in  which  she 
acts  very  well."  The  stiffness  of  London  society  manners 
never  suited  his  taste,  and  he  invariably  found  the  rout 
and  the  evening  entertainment  tiresome,  and  his  only 
comment  was  that  there  was  no  pleasant  intercourse  be 
tween  the  men  and  women.  "  I  go,"  he  says,  "one  even 
ing  to  the  Duchess  of  Gordon's.  Here  in  one  room  the 
young  are  dancing,  and  in  another  the  old  are  gambling 


at  a  faro-table.  I  stay  but  a  little  while,  for  the  party  is 
to  me  vastly  dull.  The  male  dancers  are  very  indifferent." 

He  again  presented  himself  (December  i8th)  at  the 
Duke  of  Leeds's  office,  hoping  to  find  that  his  affairs  with 
the  government  might  have  been  advanced.  He  found 
his  grace  "in  council,  but  that  breaks  up  while  I  am  here. 
Mr.  Burgess  tells  me  that  the  Duke  is  very  much  engaged. 
He  talks  a  great  deal,  but,  stripping  off  the  compliment 
and  profession,  what  he  says  amounts  to  no  more  than 
that  sundry  cabinet  councils  have  been  held  on  the  treaty 
with  America,  and  that  a  reference  has  been  made  of  the 
affair  three  months  ago  to  Lord  Hawkesbury,  whose  re 
port  has  not  yet  been  received.  I  answer  to  all  this,  very 
dryly,  that  I  have  presented  myself  to  let  them  know  that 
I  am  alive  ;  that  I  shall  write  from  hence  to  America  ; 
that  I  leave  town  next  week  ;  that  I  will  wait  on  the  Duke 
at  such  time  as  he  may  indicate  ;  that  if  I  learn  nothing 
more  than  that  things  are  just  as  I  left  them  I  shall  mere 
ly  say  so  ;  that  it  may  be  worth  their  while  to  consider 
whether  the  measures  proposed  last  session  in  Congress 
respecting  the  commerce  with  this  country  may  not  be 
adopted,  and  what  the  consequences  would  be." 

There  is  a  decided  flavor  of  republican  curtness  in  this 
message  left  for  his  grace  which  may  have  had  its  influ 
ence.  Certain  it  is,  however,  that  although  he  subse 
quently  made  two  appointments  to  meet  Morris,  profuse 
apologies  from  Mr.  Burgess,  and  many  regrets  that  "  the 
Duke  is  by  a  sudden  and  severe  indisposition  prevented 
from  meeting  me,"  was  all  the  satisfaction  the  latter 
got  from  his  grace.  Morris  was  not  slow  to  make  his 
ideas  known  with  regard  to  the  treatment  he — or,  rather, 
his  country — had  received  from  the  English  Government, 
and  he  mentioned  that,  "dining  one  day  with  Lord  Lans- 
downe,  we  have  a  great  deal  of  conversation  upon  vari- 

i79o.]  GOUVERNELJR   MORRIS.  3/1 

ous  subjects.  I  give  them  my  honest  sentiments  respect 
ing  Britain  and  America,  which  are  not  pleasing,  but  I  do 
not  mean  to  please." 

Not  long  after  this  he  was  back  in  Paris  again,  and 
making  an  early  visit  to  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  learn  the 
latest  news,  which  was  always  to  be  found  in  her  salon. 
"She  complains  bitterly,"  he  says,  January  19,  1791,  "of 
the  Bishop  of  Autun's  cold  cruelty.  He  is  elected  a  mem 
ber  of  the  Department  of  Paris  and  resigns  his  bishopric. 
He  treats  her  ill.  His  passion  for  play  has  become  ex 
treme,  and  she  gives  me  instances  which  are  ridiculous.* 
He  comes  in,  and  I  come  away.  Visit  Madame  de  Chas- 
tellux,  and  go  with  her  to  dine  at  the  Duchess  of  Orleans'. 
Her  Royal  Highness  is  ruined  ;  that  is,  she  is  reduced 
from  45<D,ooof.  to  2oo,ooof.  She  tells  me  that  she  cannot 
give  any  good  dinners,  but  if  I  will  come  and  fast  with  her 
she  will  be  glad  to  see  me." 

"At  Madame  de  StaeTs  this  evening  [January  2ist]  I 
meet  the  world.  Stay  some  time  in  various  conversation, 
altogether  of  no  consequence.  This  morning  Ternant 
calls  and  takes  breakfast.  He  was  appointed  Minister 
Plenipotentiary  to  the  United  States  last  Sunday.  We 
converse  a  little  about  his  mission.  He  wishes  me  to  be 
appointed  here.  I  tell  him  that  I  understood  from  De 
Moustier  that  Carmichael  has  been  asked  for.  He  says 
that  if  it  be  not  too  late  he  will  get  that  matter  altered. 
He  will  know  more  about  it,  and  tell  me. 

"  Go  to  the  Louvre.     M.  de  Flahaut  had  desired  to  see 

*  The  Bishop  of  Autun  was  accused  of  playing  so  high  that  he  made  a  pub 
lic  acknowledgment  of  his  gains  in  the  Chronique  de  Paris.  "  I  have  gained 
in  six  months,"  he  says,  "  not  in  the  gambling-houses,  but  in  the  society  of 
chess-clubs,  about  thirty  thousand  francs,"  and  seemed  to  think  he  had  made 
atonement  by  having  had  the  courage  to  acknowledge  his  errors.  He  did 
not,  however,  escape  from  the  sarcasm  of  the  pen  of  Camille  Desmoulins, 
who  said:  "The  Bishop  d'Autun  feels  called  upon  to  bring  back  all  the 
usages  of  the  primitive  church,  and  among  them  public  confession." 


me.  He  talks  about  sending  hardware  to  America  for 
sale,  a  friend  of  his  being  at  the  head  of  a  considerable 
manufactory.  I  tell  him  his  friend  may  call  some  morn 
ing  and  I  will  speak  to  him.  Go  to  Madame  du  Bourg's. 
They  are  at  play,  and  high  play,  too,  in  which  I  of  course 
take  no  part.  Come  away  early." 

"  Madame  de  Flahaut  tells  me  to-day  [January  22d]  that 
she  has  a  gleam  of  hope  in  her  prospects,  and  I  will  try  to 
bring  it  to  some  end.  Go  to  see  Madame  de  Segur,  and 
take  her  a  present  of  some  apples,  etc.  Monsieur  is  with  his 
wife,  and,  the  conversation  turning  that  way,  the  pleasure 
a  man  feels  in  speaking  of  himself  leads  him  to  communi 
cate  the  history  of  the  war  between  Russia  and  the  Porte. 
From  his  statement,  England  embroiled  those  powers. 
Having  taken  the  history  a  great  way  back,  and  brought 
it  to  the  peace  which  concluded  the  former  war  between 
them,  he  states  that  the  Empress  took  on  herself  to  be 
the  liege  lord  (suzerain)  of  Georgia  ;  that  the  Afghis 
Tartars,  dwelling  about  the  Caspian  Sea,  and  who  are  con 
stantly  at  war  with  the  Georgians,  received  aid  from  the 
Pasha  in  their  neighborhood,  and  that  the  Tartars  of  the 
Cuban  made  frequent  depredations  on  the  Russian  terri 
tories  and  then  crossed  that  fordable  river  into  the  Turk 
ish  territory  ;  that  complaints  having  arisen  on  this  sub 
ject,  the  mediation  of  France  was  asked  and  accepted, 
and  he  and  M.  de  Choiseul-Gouffier  employed  them 
selves  efficaciously  in  settling  the  difference.  It  was 
agreed  that  the  Pasha  should  no  longer  give  aid  to  the 
Afghis  Tartars,  and  that  those  of  the  Cuban  should  not  be 
protected  after  their  inroads  as  before  ;  that  Prince  Po- 
temkin,  having  assembled  a  considerable  army  to  be  re 
viewed  by  the  Empress  in  that  quarter,  and  being  informed 
that  the  causes  of  complaint  continued  notwithstanding 
the  treaty,  sent  immediately  through  the  Russian  ambas- 


sador,  Bulgakow,  a  menacing  message  to  the  Turk  ;  that 
this  being  communicated  by  the  Reis  Effendi  to  M.  de 
Gouffier,    he,   much    surprised,  advised  the  Turk   imme 
diately  to  arm  and  informed  him,  Segur,  of  what  was  done 
and  doing  ;  that  he  thereupon  spoke  in  very  high  terms 
to  the  Russian  ministry,  who  laid  the  blame  upon  Prince 
Potemkin.  They  agreed  to  submit  to  any  reasonable  terms, 
and   although   those    proposed    through    M.   de  Gouffier 
by  the  Turk  were  conceived  rather  haughtily,  to  his  great 
surprise   they  were    acceded   to.     His   courier,  however, 
charged   with    that   intelligence,  was  intercepted   by  the 
Turkish   robbers,  and  murdered  ;   when  he  learned  that 
accident   he   immediately  sent    another,  but   before   that 
messenger  arrived  the  English  had  been  busy  in  dissuad 
ing   them  from  all   accommodation.     Their   ambassador, 
Mr.  -   — ,  told  the  Reis   Effendi  that  he  would  be  pow 
erfully  supported    by  Prussia  and   Poland  ;   that  if  Aus 
tria  should  join  Russia,  a  powerful  diversion  would   be 
made  by  the  revolt  in  Flanders  then  in  train  ;  that  they 
must  not  trust  to  France,  whose  favorite  system  it  was  to 
support  Russia,  with  whom  she  had  lately  formed  very 
close  connections,  and  of   course  could  not  be  cordially 
attached   to   the    Porte.      'The    reason    of   England   was 
(says  Segur)  that,  being  vexed  with  Russia  for  forming  a 
treaty   with  France    by  which,  among   other   things,  the 
principles  of  the  armed  neutrality  are  acknowledged,  and 
for  insisting   on   a  like  acknowledgment,  ,in  a  proposed 
renewal  of  the  treaty  with  England,  she  was  in  hopes  of 
making  a  breach  between  France  and  her  new  ally  Russia, 
or  her  new  ally  the  Turk.     In  consequence  of  the  British 
intrigues,  the  Porte  refused  to  accede  to  the  terms  which 
she  had  herself  proposed,  but  sent  others  in  a  style  im 
perious  and  dictatorial ;  that   he  was  much  hurt  at  this, 
but,  to  his  very  great  surprise,  the  Empress  acceded  to  those 


also,  but  by  the  time  that  her  despatches  were  ciphered, 
and  just  as  the  courier  was  about  to  depart,  they  learned 
that  the  Turk  had  actually  commenced  hostilities.  He 
says  that  he  long  since  informed  his  court  that  Hertzberg 
had  formed  vast  projects  menacing  all  Europe,  but  that 
no  attention  was  paid  to  his  information,  and,  on  the  con 
trary,  he  was  represented  as  a  firebrand,  desirous  of  gen 
eral  mischief  ;  that  he  very  early  proposed  the  triple 
alliance  of  Austria,  Russia,  and  France,  which  was  then 
rejected  and  has  never  been  completed  because,  finally,  the 
French  Revolution  prevented  a  ratification  by  France. 
He  says  that  the  late  Emperor  Joseph  told  him,  shortly 
before  his  death,  that  the  Empress  of  Russia  had  permitted 
him  to  make  a  separate  peace,  and  that  he  might  assure 
the  King  he  would  agree  to  give  up  Chorzim,  and  even  Bel 
grade,  to  effect  it.  We  pass  then  to  the  peace  of  Reichen- 
bach,  and  I  tell  him  the  manner  in  which  Van  Hertzberg 
became  the  dupe  of  his  own  contrivances.'  * 

"We  learn  this  day  some  news  which,  if  true,  will  affect 
a  little  the  affairs  of  this  country.  It  is  said  that  the  Cath 
olic  militia  of  Strasbourg  have  all  resigned  and  that  a  peti 
tion  is  arrived,  signed  by  four  thousand  persons,  to  which 
a  much  greater  number  have  adhered,  desiring  that  all 
which  has  been  done  in  respect  to  the  clergy  and  nobility 
may  be  rescinded  ;  that  conciliatory  commissioners  are 
named  (three)  to  go  thither.  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux 
who  tells  me  that  she  is  informed  by  a  person  lately  come 
from  French  Flanders  that  a  general  apprehension  is  there 
entertained  of  a  visit  from  the  imperial  troops.  I  do  not 
believe  in  this  visit. 

"Leave  her  and  go  to  the  Louvre.  I  find  Madame  de 
Flahaut  in  conversation  with  a  deputy  from  the  Islands, 
who  wishes  a  particular  person  nominated  to  the  Depart- 

*  Unfortunately  Morris  does  not  give  this  conversation  or  his  authority. 

i79i.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  375 

ment  of  the  Colonies,  and  that,  in  the  demarcation  of  lim 
its  with  Spain,  a  tract  should  be  ceded  in  St.  Domingo,  for 
a  part  of  which  a  plantation  will  be  given  of  which  she 
shall  have  one-half.  I  sup  here.  She  is  very  sad,  and  it 
is  in  vain  that  I  try  to  remove  that  sadness.  But  her  pros 
pects  are  very  bad." 

"  La  Caze  repeats  again  to-day  [January  23d]  that  Jef 
ferson  has  made  Robert  Morris  a  promise  on  my  subject 
which  is  impossible.  He  tells  me  that  he  learned  from 
Colonel  Smith  the  only  objection  to  placing  me  in  this 
Corps  Diplomatique  would  be  my  other  pursuits.  At 
half-past  three  I  call  on  Madame  de  Flahaut.  The  Bishop 
of  Autun  is  with  her.  Take  a  note  of  the  person  that  the 
Colonists  want  for  their  Minister,  and  then  go  to  dine  with 
M.  Montmorin.  Meet  Ternant.  Montesquiou  comes  in 
after  dinner,  and  says  he  wishes  to  see  me.  Ternant  and  I 
come  away  together.  In  the  carriage  he  tells  me  that,  on 
entering  the  court  at  Montmorin's,  he  took  occasion  to  ob 
serve,  on  seeing  my  carriage,  that  it  would  be  a  good  thing 
I  were  appointed  the  Minister  from  the  United  States  ;  to 
which  Montmorin  replied  that  he  should  like  it  much. 
Ternant  then  told  him  it  would  be  very  easy  to  get  it  done, 
since  nothing  more  would  be  necessary  than  to  signify  a  de 
sire  of  the  kind  to  Mr.  Jefferson.  Montmorin  then  said  there 
was  another  person  who  desired  it,  namely,  Carmichael. 
He  asked  if  it  was  he  or  his  friends  who  desired  it,  but  be 
fore  any  decisive  answer  could  be  obtained  they  entered 
the  salon.  Afterwards  go  to  take  tea  with  Madame  de 
Chastellux,  and  sup  with  the  Princess.  A  very  fine  day, 
but  drizzly  evening.  The  news  of  Strasbourg,  Montmorin 
told  me,  is  unfounded." 

"  This  morning  [January  25th]  Ternant  comes  in.  He 
tells  me  that  the  appointment  of  a  Minister  for  the  Colonies 
will  experience  considerable  delay.  He  wishes  me  to  con- 


fer  with  the  Committee  of  Commerce.  I  promise  to  do  so, 
if  they  desire  it.  He  wishes  me  to  tell  Montmorin  the  sum 
which  I  conceive  to  be  needful  for  a  French  minister  in 
America,  which  I  will  do  when  he  tells  me  the  appointment 
is  really  made.  At  three  o'clock  go  to  dine  with  Madame 
de  Stael,  who  is  not  yet  come  in.  Meanwhile  I  visit  at  the 
Louvre,  where  they  are  at  dinner.  Madame  de  Flahaut  is 
ill,  and  goes  to  bed.  Return  to  dinner.  The  Abbe  Sieyes 
is  here,  and  descants  with  much  self-sufficiency  on  govern 
ment,  despising  all  that  has  been  said  or  sung  on  that  sub 
ject  before  him,  and  Madame  says  that  his  writings  and 
opinions  will  form  in  politics  a  new  era,  as  that  of  Newton 
in  physics.  Go  from  hence  to  Madame  du  Bourg's.  She 
advises  me  to  pursue  rather  the  attractions  of  society  than 
any  serious  attachment.  Company  come  in,  which  puts 
an  end  to  that  matter." 

"  This  morning  [January  26th]  1  am  prevented  from  do 
ing  anything  almost.  First,  M.  de  Flahaut  presents  to  me 
by  appointment  his  friend,  who  is  a  chief  of  the  works  of 
Amboise.  He  wants  vent  for  hardware  in  the  United 
States.  Then  Colonel  Walker  comes  to  communicate  the 
perplexed  state  of  the  affairs  of  the  Scioto  Civilization 
Company.  He  asks  my  advice,  but  I  can  give  no  advice, 
not  knowing  sufficiently  all  the  facts  ;  some  of  the  most 
important  he  remains  ignorant  of.  Before  he  is  gone 
Colonel  Swan  arrives,  and  tells  me  that  his  plan  for  the 
debt  has  fallen  through  by  the  misconduct  of  Cantaleu.4 
He  wishes  me  to  visit  Montesquiou.  I  tell  him  that  if 
Montesquiou  wishes  to  see  me  he  can  call  on  me.  Dine 
with  Lafayette,  who  is  tolerably  well  content  to  see  me. 
Ternant  is  here  ;  he  thinks  a  few  weeks  will  drive  things 
to  a  decision.  I  think  not.  After  dinner  we  have  an  inter 
esting  conversation  together.  He  tells  me  that  he  had  ar 
ranged  a  plan  for  restoring  order  by  the  exertion  of  force, 


in  which  De  Bouillie  and  Lafayette  were  to  co-operate, 
but  the  latter  failed  while  he  was  in  Germany.  He  is  now 
at  work  to  bring  about  the  same  thing.  I  see  that  he  is 
desirous  of  being  in  the  ministry  here,  and  would  play  at 
heads  for  kingdoms.  They  want  some  person  of  this  sort, 
of  a  rank  sufficiently  elevated  to  run  no  risk  unnecessarily, 
and  whose  temper  will  not  avoid  any  which  may  be  neces 
sary  or  proper.  The  Bishop  happening  to  be  at  the  Louvre 
to-day,  I  ask  him  what  kind  of  place  he  has  got,  what  is 
the  income,  whether  it  will  support  him,  etc.,  and  observe 
that  unless  it  will  place  him  in  an  independent  situation 
he  has  done  wrong  in  accepting.  He  says  that  it  is  the 
only  door  which  was  open." 

"Dine  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  to-day  [January 
2yth],  and  go  thence  to  the  Louvre.  Madame  de  Flahaut 
has  her  sister  with  her,  who  is  arrived  in  great  penury  at 
Paris,  and  to  whom  she  has  sent  money,  notwithstanding 
the  misery  of  her  own  situation.  Leave  them,  and  visit 
Madame  de  Stael.  Return  early,  after  drinking  much 
weak  tea." 

"  This  morning  [January  2pth]  write,  and  at  noon  take 
up  Madame  de  Chastellux.  We  go  together  to  Choisy, 
and  dine  with  Marmontel.  He  thinks  soundly.  After 
dinner  he  mentions  his  mode  of  contesting  the  new-fan 
gled  doctrines  of  the  droits  de  Vhomme  by  asking  a  definition 
of  the  word  draft,  and  from  that  definition  he  draws  a  con 
clusion  against  the  asserted  equality  of  rights.  He  admits, 
however,  that  all  are  equal  before  the  law  and  under  the 
law.  I  deny  this  position,  and  make  him  remark  that, 
where  there  is  great  inequality  of  rank  and  fortune,  this 
supposed  equality  of  legal  dispensation  would  destroy  all 
proportion  and  all  justice.  If  the  punishment  be  a  fine, 
it  oppresses  the  poor  but  does  not  affect  the  rich.  If  it  be 
corporal  punishment,  it  degrades  the  prince  but  does  not 


wound  the  beggar.  He  is  struck  with  deep  conviction  at 
this  observation.  I  draw  only  one  conclusion,  that  in 
morals  every  general  position  requires  numerous  excep 
tions,  wherefore  logical  conclusions  from  such  positions 
must  frequently  be  erroneous.  I  might  have  pursued  (as 
I  have  sometimes  done)  my  remark  a  little  farther,  to  the 
legal  compensation  of  injuries  where  the  varieties  are 
greater,  because  the  party  committing  and  the  party  suf 
fering  wrong  may  each  be  of  different  rank  in  society.  I 
might  go  farther  and  notice  those  different  varieties  of 
sentiment  which  the  manners  of  different  nations  intro 
duce  into  social  life,  for  it  is  a  fact  that  the  *  ill  we  feel  is 
most  in  apprehension.'  The  legislator,  therefore,  who 
would  pare  down  the  feelings  of  mankind  to  the  metaphys 
ical  standard  of  his  own  reason,  would  show  little  knowl 
edge  though  he  might  display  much  genius.  We  return 
to  the  Palais  Royal,  where  I  set  down  Madame  de  Chas- 
tellux.  Go  to  the  Louvre.  Madame  de  Flahaut  is  alone 
and  in  sorrow.  Complains  of.  the  cold  insensibility  of 
her  husband's  relations.  He  is  ill,  very  ill.  The  Baron 
de  Montesquiou  comes  in,  and  asks  if  her  dower  is  secured. 
It  is  not.  M.  d'Angiviliers  has  paid  his  brother's  debts  ; 
quaere,  whether  he  will  pay  this  as  a  debt privile'gid" 

"  To-day  [February  ist]  I  hear  that  M.  de  Rouilliere  is 
dead  suddenly,  and  as  he  was  writing  the  history  of  the 
times,  and  was  not  friendly  to  the  powers  which  are,  their 
adversaries  say  that  he  was  poisoned. 

"Paul  Jones  calls  on  me,  and  wishes  to  have  my  senti 
ments  on  a  plan  for  carrying  on  war  against  Britain  in  In 
dia,  should  she  commence  hostilities  against  Russia.  At 
half-past  three  go  to  dine  with  De  la  Rochefoucault,  and 
later  visit  Madame  de  Segur,  and  sit  for  some  time.  She 
is  just  returned  from  attending  on  her  princess  at  Belle- 
vue.  The  two  old  ladies,  Mesdames  Adelaide  and  Victoire, 


are  about  to  start  for  Rome.  Ternant  came  this  morning 
and  desired  me  to  go  to  Lafayette  this  evening,  and  thence 
to  the  Committee  of  Commerce.  He  said  that  he  should 
have  caused  the  committee  to  write  me  a  note,  but  that 
Lafayette,  who  chooses  to  seem  (the  omnis  homo)  to  do 
everything,  preferred  taking"  me  along  with  him.  After 
dining  I  go  to  Lafayette's.  Converse  some  time  with  Ter 
nant,  and  when  Lafayette  comes  up  I  tell  him  that  I  can 
not  go  to  the  committee  but  at  their  request  ;  that  what  I 
say  will  have  less  weight  ;  that  I  think  it  better  for  him  to 
go  this  evening  with  Swan,  and  then,  if  the  committee  sig 
nify  a  desire  to  see  me,  I  will  wait  on  them  to-morrow  even 
ing  ;  that  in  the  meantime  he  can  signify  to  me  what  he 
wishes  should  be  done.  He  agrees  to  the  propriety  of  all 
this  in  words,  but  I  can  see  that  he  is  devilishly  vexed. 
Be  it  so.  Better  he  be  vexed  than  carry  me  about  in  his 

"This  morning  [February  3d]  Ternant  calls  and  tells 
me  of  what  passed  last  e.vening.  He  says  that  Lafayette 
agreed  to  the  free  culture  of  tobacco  ;  that  it  is  an  affair 
of  party  entirely.  He  says  that  he  proposed  inviting  me 
to  the  committee,  but  that  M.  Raymond  objected,  as  I 
was  interested.  Colonel  Swan  told  me  this  morning,  apro 
pos  of  the  tobacco  question,  that  there  is  a  knot  of  men  in 
the  Assembly  who  dispose  of  all  things  as  they  list,  and 
who  turn  everything  to  account.  He  speaks  of  their  cor 
ruption  with  horror.  I  dress  and  go  to  M.  Mory's  to  din 
ner.  There  has  been,  it  seems,  a  mistake,  and  instead  of 
finding  Chaumont  I  meet  two  kept  mistresses.  Chau- 
mont  and  his  wife  come  in  presently  after.  It  is  ridicu 
lous  enough.  However,  she  goes  home.  We  stay,  and 
dine  late.  M.  de  Flahaut,  I  hear,  is  getting  better.  His 
malady  arises  from  his  misconduct  in  pecuniary  affairs.  He 
is  a  wretch,  and  the  best  thing  he  could  do  would  be  to  die." 


"  I  dine  with  M.  de  Montmorin  to-day  [February  4th]. 
We  have  a  numerous  collection  at  dinner.  Madame  de 
Montmorin  shows  me  an  almanac  from  England,  sent  her 
by  the  Duke  of  Dorset,  in  which,  among  other  things,  is  a 
table  of  weights  and  measures.  She  says  that  it  is  one 
among  many  things  which  will  be  useless  to  her.  I  write 
in  a  blank  leaf  opposite  to  it : 

A  table  here,  of  weight  and  measure, 
In  times  like  these  it  is  a  treasure  ; 
For  each  one  measures  now  the  state, 
And  what  his  reasons  want  in  weight, 
He  makes  up,  as  a  thing  of  course, 
By  the  abundance  of  discourse." 

"This  abundance  of  discourse"  never  ceased  to  amaze 
Morris,  so  often  was  the  mountain  delivered  of  the 
mouse.  This  day  finished  with  a  musical  party  at  Ma 
dame  de  Chastellux's,  and  an  hour  spent  at  Madame  de 
StaeTs.  "  Some  advances  are  made  to  me  by  Madame. 
We  shall  see."  More  music  at  the  Palais  Royal,  and  a 
call  at  the  Louvre,  ''where  Madame  de  Nadaillac  sups,  to 
see  me  ;  she  is  an  aristocrat  outrfo,  and  has  heard  that  I 
am  of  her  sect.  She  is  mistaken.  She  is  handsome,  and 
has  a  good  deal  of  esprit.  Her  aunt,  Madame  de  Flahaut, 
tells  me  she  is  virtuous  and  coquette  and  romantic.  Nous 
verrons.  Madame  de  Nadaillac  assures  me  that  there  are 
many  virtuous  and  religious  young  women  in  Paris.  She 
says  she  will  give  me  a  supper  with  the  Abbe  Maury." 

"The  Assembly  have  abolished  the  farm,  etc.,  of  to 
bacco,  permitted  the  culture,  and  laid  on  a  large  duty.* 

*  Louis  Blanc,  in  his  history  of  the  French  Revolution,  gives  a  startling 
description  of  the  effect  of  farming  the  revenue  which  prevailed  in  France 
until  this  year  of  1791.  Of  eight  principal  branches  of  the  revenue  five  were 
farmed.  The  salt  tax,  the  subsidy,  the  land,  and  the  tobacco  were  all  indi 
rect  contributions.  The  history  of  the  farmers-general  was  the  martyrizing  of 
the  tax-payers  ;  for  the  tax-gatherers  France  was  a  conquered  country.  They 


Dine  [February  i3th]  with  M.  de  Lafayette,  and  speak  to 
him  about  the  enormous  duty  on  tobacco  brought  in  Ameri 
can  vessels.  He  wishes  me  to  give  him  a  note  about  it.  I 
tell  him  that  I  do  not  choose  to  meddle  with  matters  out 
of  my  line.  He  says  that  Mirabeau  has  promised  him  to 
speak  about  it,  and  he  expects  that  both  the  tobacco  and 
the  oil  will  be  taken  up  by  the  Diplomatic  Committee.  I 
ask  him  whether  it  would  not  answer  for  the  King  to  sus 
pend  that  decree,  and  give  his  reasons.  He  says  that  he 
would  rather  the  Americans  should  be  obliged  to  the  na 
tion  than  to  the  prince.  I  tell  him  that  I  learn  from  some 
persons  well  informed  that  if  he  had  spoken  the  question 
would  have  been  differently  decided.  He  says  that,  on  the 
contrary,  it  was  so  carried  to  spite  him,  and  that  the  aris 
tocrats  in  particular  opposed  it  merely  on  that  ground. 
Madame  de  Segur,  whom  I  meet,  confirms  to  me  that  the 
aristocrats  lost  the  tobacco  question.  I  think  an  addi 
tional  reason  for  their  vote  is  a  hatred  to  America  for 
having  been  the  cause  of  the  Revolution.  M.  de  Mont- 
morin  assures  me  that  he  is  doing  everything  in  his  power 
relating  to  the  tobacco  decrees,  and  I  ask  him  if  I  shall 
write  him  a  letter  on  the  subject.  He  expresses  a  strong 
wish  that  I  would,  and  pressed  me  earnestly  to  do  so  the 
next  day,  as  he  was  then  to  meet  the  Diplomatic  Commit 

Morris   was   extremely   anxious    to   keep    himself   out 
1  of  sight,  "  not  wishing  to  be  quoted  in  any  of  the  delibera 
tions  of  the  committee,"  and  therefore,  he  says,  speaking 
of  the  note  afterwards  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Jefferson,  "  I  stated 

bled  the  people,  and  they  had  prisons  and  galleys  ready  to  punish  them. 
Adam  Smith,  in  his  Wealth  of  Nations,  suggested  "  that  by  subjecting  all 
those  taxes  to  an  administration  under  the  immediate  inspection  and  direc 
tion  of  government,  the  exorbitant  profits  of  the  farmers-general  might  be 
added  to  the  revenue."  "  The  most  dreadful  laws,"  he  said,  "exist  in  a 
country  where  the  revenue  is  farmed." 


the  observations  as  being  made  by  American  citizens.  I 
am  endeavoring,  if  possible,  to  obtain  a  duty  on  the  cult 
ure  equivalent  to  the  import  duty.  There  is  little  hope 
of  success  to  any  proposition  for  alleviating,  much  less  re 
moving,  the  burdens  they  have  laid  upon  us.  The  greater 
part  have  adopted  systematic  reasoning  in  matters  of  com 
merce  as  in  those  of  government,  so  that,  disdaining  atten 
tion  to  facts,  and  deaf  to  the  voice  of  experience,  while 
others  deliberate,  they  decide,  and  are  more  constant  in 
their  opinions  in  proportion  as  they  are  less  acquainted 
with  the  subject,  which  is  natural  enough." 

In  a  private  letter  to  Washington,  written  about  this 
time,  Morris  says  of  the  late  decrees,  that  the  "  laying 
a  heavy  duty  on  oil,  and  giving  a  great  preference  of  duty 
on  tobacco  imported  in  Frencli  ships,  and  declaring  that 
none  but  those  built  in  France  shall  be  reputed  French 
bottoms,  will  excite  much  ill-humor  in  America.  Those 
who  rule  the  roast  here  seem  to  think  that  because  the  old 
government  was  sometimes  wrong,  everything  contrary  to 
what  they  did  must  be  right.  Like  Jack  in  the  'Tale  of  a 
Tub,'  who  tore  his  coat  to  pieces  in  pulling  off  the  fringe 
and  trimmings  that  Peter  had  put  on,  or  like  the  old  Con 
gress  in  its  young  days,  which  rejected  the  offer  of  valuable 
contracts  and  employed  a  host  of  commissaries  and  quarter 
masters  because  Great  Britain  dealt  with  contractors — but, 
really,  in  the  present  effervescence  very  few  acts  of  the 
Assembly  can  be  considered  as  deliberate  movements  of 
national  will.  There  still  continue  to  be  three  parties 
here.  The  enrag/s,  long  since  known  by  the  name  of  Jaco 
bins,  have  lost  much  in  the  public  opinion,  so  that  they 
are  less  powerful  in  the  Assembly  than  they  were  ;  but 
their  Committees  of  Correspondence  (called  Society's  Pa- 
triotiques),  spread  all  over  the  kingdom,  have  given  them 
a  deep  and  strong  hold  over  the  people.  On  the  other 

i79i.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  383 

hand  the  numerous  reforms,  some  of  them  unnecessary, 
and  all  either  harsh,  precipitate,  or  extreme,  have  thrown 
into  the  aristocratic  party  a  great  number  of  discontented. 

"  The  military,  who  as  such  look  up  to  the  sovereign, 
are  somewhat  less  factious  than  they  were,  but  they  are 
rather  a  mob  than  an  army,  and  must,  I  think,  fall  either 
to  the  aristocratic  or  Jacobin  side  of  the  question.  The 
middlemen  are  in  a  whimsical  situation.  In  the  Senate 
they  follow  the  Jacobin  counsels  rather  than  appear  con 
nected  with  the  other  party.  The  same  principle  of 
shamefacedness  operates  on  great  occasions  out-of-doors, 
but  as  the  aristocrats  have  been  forced  down  by  a  torrent 
of  opinion  from  the  heights  of  their  absurd  pretensions, 
and  as  the  middlemen  begin  to  be  alarmed  at  the  extrem 
ities  to  which  they  have  been  hurried,  those  two  parties 
might  come  together  if  it  were  not  for  personal  animos 
ities  among  the  leaders. 

"  This  middle  party  would  be  the  strongest  if  the  nation 
were  virtuous,  but,  alas!  this  is  not  the  case,  and  therefore 
I  think  it  will  only  serve  as  a  stepping-stone  for  those  who 
may  find  it  convenient  to  change  sides.  In  the  midst, 
however,  of  all  these  confusions,  what  with  confiscating 
the  church  property,  selling  the  domains,  curtailing  pen 
sions,  and  destroying  offices,  but  especially  by  that  great 
liquidator  of  public  debt,  a  paper  currency,  this  nation  is 
working  its  way  to  a  new  state  of  active  energy  which 
will,  I  think,  be  displayed  as  soon  as  a  vigorous  govern 
ment  shall  establish  itself.  The  intervening  confusion 
will  probably  call  forth  men  of  talent  to  form  such  gov 
ernment  and  to  exert  its  powers." 

About  a  week  later  Morris  dined  with  Montmorin,  when 
they  discussed  the  decrees.  "  He  tells  me  that  he  is  well 
pleased  with  my  reflections,  but  he  does  not  expect  to  do 
anything  in  the  tobacco  affair,  the  Assembly  are  so  violent 


and  so  ignorant.  I  mention  to  Mr.  Duport,  who  is  here, 
my  plan,  to  which  he  gives  but  little  heed,  for  the  same 
reason  which  M.  de  Montmorin  assigns.  This  last  tells 
me  that  a  M.  Pinchon,  who  it  was  said  killed  himself  in 
July,  1789,  was  murdered  ;  that  it  was  shortly  after  he  had 
deposited  his  portefeuille  with  the  Due  d'Orleans,  which 
he  had  been  persuaded  to  do  on  account  of  the  troubles  ; 
that  the  Due  de  Penthievre  had  been  first  proposed  as  his 
depositaire,  but  this  meeting  with  difficulty,  his  son-in-law 
was  fixed  upon  ;  that  the  unhappy  man  was  brought  home, 
and  declared  that  he  was  murdered.  He  lived  to  sign  sev 
eral  papers.  There  was  found  in  his  house  two  millions, 
and  his  estate  is  bankrupt  for  fifty  millions.  M.  Duport 
mentions  that  from  a  state  of  the  Due  d'Orleans'  affairs, 
published  by  his  chancellor,  it  appears  that  he  is  in  arrears 
about  fifty  millions  more.  Time  will  unravel  these  things, 
if  the  suspicions  be  founded." 

"  I  dine  to-day  [February  22d]  with  Madame  de  Foucault, 
and  meet  there  by  appointment  the  Abbe  Ronchon.  Ma 
dame  is  kindly  attentive.  I  bring  the  Abbe  away  with  me, 
and  he  tells  me  that  in  the  memorable  affair  of  Versailles, 
as  it  was  known  that  the  King  was  that  day  to  hunt  in  the 
forest  of  Meudon,  a  party  of  the  populace,  in  number 
about  a  thousand,  went  thither,  and  among  them  were 
some  assassins  whose  object  was  to  kill  him,  and  that  a 
reward  of  a  thousand  guineas  was  to  be  given  to  the  wretch 
who  should  perform  that  deed.  He  says  that  the  Comte 
de  St.  Priest,  being  informed  of  this,  sent  to  urge  His  Maj 
esty  to  come  immediately  on  important  business  to  Ver 
sailles  ;  that  this  message  made  the  violent  party  so  much 
his  enemies  as  they  afterwards  appeared  to  be.  The  Abbe 
believes  all  this,  which  I  must  acknowledge  that  I  do  not. 
I  think  there  is  enough  of  little  villainy  about  them,  but  I 
question  whether  there  be  bold  criminality." 

i79i.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  385 

"The  Marquis  de  Favernay  tells  me  [February  23d] 
that  there  is  the  devil  to  pay  in  Languedoc.  A  kind  of 
religious  war  is  there  kindling  between  the  Catholics  and 
Protestants.  He  says  that  the  latter,  who  are  rich,  have 
purchased  over  the  national  troops,  and  turned  their 
swords  against  the  Catholics,  under  pretence  of  supporting 
the  new  Constitution.  I  suppose  others  give  a  different 
account  of  the  affair,  but  it  seems  pretty  clear  at  Nimes 
and  Uses  they  are  actually  come  to  blows.  I  go  at  nine 
to  the  Louvre  to  take  Madame  de  Flahaut  to  sup  with 
Madame  de  Nadaillac.  According  to  custom,  she  is  not 
ready.  We  do  not  arrive  till  ten.  Our  hostess  is  very 
pleasant.  Insists  that  I  shall  be  an  aristocrat,  whether  I 
will  or  no.  She  gives  me  assurances  of  her  religion 
and  morality,  etc.,  but  she  is  a  coquette,  and  she  is  enthu 
siastic  and  romantic." 

"  Go  to  the  Louvre  [February  24th]  ;  see  Madame  de 
Flahaut.  She  is  ill  in  bed ;  play  sixpenny  whist  with  her. 
The  Bishop  of  Autun  is  horribly  frightened  for  his  life. 
When  she  got  home  last  night  she  found  in  a  blank  en 
velope  a  will  of  her  Bishop  making  her  his  heir.  In  conse 
quence  of  some  things  he  had  dropped  in  conversation,  she 
concluded  that  he  was  determined  to  destroy  himself,  and 
therefore  spent  the  night  in  great  agitation  and  in  tears. 
M.  de  St.  Foi,  whom  she  roused  at  four  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  could  not  find  the  Bishop,  he  having  slept  near 
the  church  in  which  he  was  this  day  to  consecrate  two 
bishops  lately  elected.  At  length  it  turns  out  that,  pursu 
ant  to  repeated  threats,  he  feared  that  the  clergy  would 
cause  him  to  be  this  day  destroyed,  and  had  ordered  the 
letter  not  to  be  delivered  till  the  evening,  meaning  to  take 
it  back  if  he  lived  through  the  day." 

"  I  learn  [February  27th]  that  Paris  is  in  great  tumult,  of 
which  I  had  indeed  observed  some  symptoms  this  morning. 

386  DIARY   AND    LETTERS    OF  [€HAP.  XVII. 

Go  to  the  Louvre  ;  the  Bishop  is  here.  I  return  home, 
and  find  the  Place  du  Carrousel  full  of  soldiers.  See  Ma 
dame  de  Chastellux  who  tells  me  that  the  Princess  is  much 
alarmed  at  what  is  passing  in  Paris.  There  is  a  deal  of  riot 
conjured  up,  but  there  seems  to  be  no  sufficient  object,  so 
that  it  must  waste  itself." 

During  the  early  weeks  of  1791  rumor  was  fulfilling  her 
agitating  mission,  ably  assisted  by  Camille  Desmoulins, 
who  faithfully  kept  alive  the  fear  that  the  continued  emi 
gration  of  aristocrats  meant  a  counter-revolutionary  plot, 
the  end  of  which  would  be  a  general  massacre.  The  roads 
were  guarded  to  prevent  the  queen  from  escaping,  as  the 
people  were  led  to  believe  she  intended  doing,  dressed  as 
a  jockey.  The  king  had  been  supplicated  by  a  deputation 
from  the  sections  of  Paris  to  prevent  the  journey  of  mes- 
dames*  his  aunts  to  Rome.  But  his  majesty  had  only 
made  answer  that  in  his  opinion  the  ladies  had  as  much 
right  to  go  as  any  other  citizen.  Deeply  incensed  by 
this  answer,  Camille  Desmoulins  wrote  that  they  had  no 
right  to  go  off  with  their  pensions,  or,  as  he  expressed  it, 
to  eat  French  millions  on  Roman  soil.  But  on  the  i9th 
the  old  ladies  quietly  slipped  off — leaving  the  Assembly 
rather  startled,  and  extreme  emotion  and  excitement 
among  the  people,  who  were  fully  persuaded  that  the  en 
tire  royal  family  meant  to  follow  suit.  Of  the  departure 
of  these  ladies,  Madame  Campan  speaks  as  follows:  "I 
know  from  the  queen  that  the  departure  of  mesdames 
was  judged  necessary  in  order  to  leave  the  king's  action 
free  from  the  constraint  put  upon  him  by  the  family." 
La  Chimique  de  Paris,  a  journal  under  the  influence  of 
the  constitutional  party,  expressed  great  surprise,  in  a 
sarcastic  article,  that  two  sedentary  old  ladies  should 
be  suddenly  possessed  with  a  desire  to  run  over  the 
world.  "  C'est  singulier,  mais  c'est  possible.  Elles  vont, 


dit-on,  baiser  la  mule  du  pape — c'est  drole,  mais  c'est 

"  The  Comte  de  Provence,  quietly  dining  with  Madame 
de  Balbi,  found  himself  suddenly  surrounded  by  the 
fetnmes  de  la  Halle  and  an  immense  crowd  of  people  of 
all  professions,  who,  in  a  fever  of  excitement,  demanded  to 
know  if  he  meant  to  quit  the  King's  person,  or,  if  the  King 
went,  should  he  go  too  ?  To  which  last  question  he  re 
plied  in  such  a  way  as  to  silence  and  disperse,  for  a  time 
at  least,  even  this  mob.  'Osez-vous,'  he  said,  Me  prevoir?'" 

The  riot  which  Morris  particularly  mentions  was  in 
consequence  of  some  false  news  spread  through  the 
town  that  arms  and  ammunition  had  been  transported  to 
the  donjon  of  Vincennes,  and  that  there  existed  in  the 
Tuileries  a  secret  passage  through  which  the  royal  family 
intended  to  make  their  escape.  Lafayette,  at  tire  head  of 
the  National  Guard,  saved  the  fortress  of  Vincennes  from 
being  demolished,  and  forced  the  assailants  to  retreat — 
which  they  did,  and  tumultuously  rushed  into  Paris,  with 
the  formidable  brewer  Santerre  in  the  midst  of  them. 
Morris  speaks  of  going  to  the  court  of  the  Tuileries 
immediately  after  these  riots,  but  "  not  being  permitted  to 
walk  in  the  gardens  ;  try  the  quay,  but  the  mud  is  impas 
sable  ;  go  home  and  dress,  and  then  go  to  Madame  de  Fou- 
cault's  to  dine.  After  dinner  visit  Madame  de  Nadaillac. 
She  and  her  husband  are  tete-a-tete.  We  talk  religion 
and  morality.  Monsieur  observes,  with  much  vehemence, 
that  the  man  who,  under  pretext  of  the  former,  induces  a 
woman  to  violate  the  latter's  laws  is  worse  than  an  atheist. 
Madame  tries  to  mitigate  a  little  this  denunciation.  Now 
as  Monsieur  is  of  cold  temper  and  temperament,  and  Ma 
dame  very  enthusiastic,  it  seems  to  me  that  there  is  in  this 
a  remote  relation  to  the  Abbe  Maury,  who  is  much  con 
sidered  by  Madame.  He  is  a  mauvais  siijet^  and  she  is  very 


religious  and  duteous,  etc.  I  part  with  her  upon  a  pretty 
good  ton,  and  Monsieur  is  also  content.  Return  home,  and, 
according  to  appointment,  Mr.  Swan  and  M.  Bremond  call 
on  me.  The  affair  of  the  tobacco  is  adjusted  with  the 
controller  so  that  we  are  to  have  a  decided  preference. 
The  government  are  to  furnish  a  million  and  a  half,  and 
the  interested  on  this  side  of  the  water  are  to  make  it  up 
four  millions,  the  business  to  be  carried  on  on  equal  and 
joint  account." 

"  To-day  [March  2d]  I  dine  with  Lafayette.  I  communi 
cate  to  him  some  facts  respecting  American  affairs,  and, 
as  he  is  desirous  of  taking  them  all  up  together,  I  tell  him 
that  he  had  better,  in  such  case,  get  a  resolution  or  decree 
empowering  the  administration  to  act,  for  that  otherwise 
he  will  have  so  many  interests  opposed  to  his  plan  that  it 
must  certainly  fail.  I  think  he  will  not  follow  this  advice, 
because  he  wants  to  appear  the  Atlas  which  supports  the 
two  worlds.  I  ask  him  to  tell  me  what  passed  the  other 
day  at  the  Chateau.  He  acknowledges  that  the  Garde 
Nationale  was  drunk,  and  himself  so  angry  as  to  have  be 
haved  indecorously  to  the  gentlemen  there  ;  but  he  says,  at 
the  same  time,  that  M.  de  Villequiere  was  much  in  fault, 
who,  notwithstanding  he  had  given  his  word  of  honor  not 
to  suffer  any  persons  to  come  into  the  King's  chamber 
except  his  usual  attendants,  had  suffered  a  crowd  to  get 
thither,  many  of  them  of  the  worst  kind  of  people.  Hav 
ing  heard  his  story,  I  tell  him  (which  is  very  true)  that  I 
am  sorry  for  it,  but  as  the  thing  is  done  he  must  now  bear 
it  out  with  a  high  hand,  and  turn  M.  de  Villequiere  out  of 
office,  assigning  publicly  as  a  reason  that  he  permitted 
certain  persons  (to  be  named)  to  come  into  the  King's 
chamber  on  such  an  occasion,  contrary  to  the  promise 
made  on  his  honor.  He  finds  this  advice  very  good.  He 
must  be  preserved  yet." 

i79i.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  389 


The  queen  intriguing  with  Mirabeau.  Morris's  impressions  of  the  Abbe 
Maury.  Madame  de  Nadaillac's  salon.  Madame  de  Tesse  converted 
to  Morris's  political  principles.  Vicq  d'Azyr's  eulogy  of  Franklin. 
Morris  takes  supper  with  Condorcet.  Paris  illuminated.  First  in 
troduction  to  Lady  Sutherland.  Conversation  with  the  Abbe  Maury. 
Death  of  Mirabeau.  Discusses  with  Montmorin  Mirabeau's  succes 
sor.  Mirabeau'  s  impressive  funeral.  Strictures  on  his  character. 
Robespierre  comes  to  the  front.  Morris  predicts  to  M.  de  Mont 
morin  the  speedy  dissolution  of  the  present  Assembly.  A  visit  from 
Paine.  Madame  de  Nadaillac  talks  of  religion  and  duty.  Madame 
de  Flahaut  asks  advice  as  to  marriage.  Morris  prepares  a  note  for 
the  king  on  the  rations  for  the  French  marine.  Madame  de  Stael 
reads  her  tragedy  "  Montmorenci."  Morris  gives  her  some  advice. 
Brilliant  society  in  her  salon. 

U  ALK  about  the  Champs  Elysees  to-day  [March 

T  T  7 
V  V 

]  with  Madame  de  Flahaut  and  Mademoiselle 
Duplessis.  Propose  to  M.  de  Favernay,  whom  I  meet,  to  go 
to  the  restaurateur's,  but  Madame  proposes  that  we  should 
bring  our  dinner  to  her.  We  go  to  the  Hotel  des  Ameri- 
cains,  and,  having  made  our  provision,  return  and  eat  it 
there.  After  dinner  I  return  home,  read  a  little,  and 
dress.  M.  Bremond*  and  M.  de  Bergasse  come  in.  We 
have  much  conversation  on  public  affairs,  which  form  the 
object  of  their  visit.  They  tell  me  that  the  Queen  is  now 
intriguing  with  Mirabeau,  the  Comte  de  la  Marck,  and  the 

*  Etienne  Bremond,  of  whom  Morris  so  often  speaks  in  his  diary,  had  been 
successively  cure  at  Chartres.  canon  of  the  cathedral,  canon  of  a  church  in 
Paris,  and  docteur  de  la  Sorbonne.  His  chagrin  at  the  imprisonment  of  the 
king  threw  him  into  a  painful  condition  of  health,  which  resulted  in  his  death 
in  January,  1795. 


Comte  de  Mercy,  who  enjoy  her  confidence.  They  wish 
to  visit  me  again.  They  tell  me  that  Mirabeau,  whose  am 
bition  renders  him  the  mortal  enemy  of  Lafayette,  must 
succeed  in  ruining  him  by  the  instrumentality  of  his  com 
peers  in  the  department.  I  incline  to  think,  however,  that 
Lafayette  will  hold  a  good  tug,  being  as  cunning  as  any 
body.  Mirabeau  has  much  greater  talents,  and  his  oppo 
nent  a  better  character.  When  the  two  gentlemen  leave 
me,  I  go  to  Madame  de  Nadaillac's.  We  have  here  the 
Abbe  Maury,*  who  looks  like  a  downright  ecclesiastical 
scoundrel,  and  the  rest  are  fierce  aristocrats.  They  have 
the  word  '  valet '  written  on  their  foreheads  in  large  charac 
ters.  Maury  is  formed  to  govern  such  men,  and  such  men 
are  formed  to  obey  him,  or  anyone  else.  Maury  seems, 
however,  to  have  rather  too  much  vanity  for  a  great  man. 
Madame  de  Nadaillac  is  vastly  attentive,  and  insists  that  I 
must  be  un  aristocrat  outre.  I  tell  her  that  I  am  too  old  to 
change  my  opinions  of  government,  but  I  will  to  her  be 
just  what  she  pleases." 

"To-day  [March  5th]  the  Comte  de  Segur  calls  on  me. 
I  ask  him  the  character  of  the  Comte  de  la  Marck  f  and 
the  Comte  de  Mercy.  J  He  tells  me  that  the  former  is  a 
military  man  who  understands  his  business,  and  that  in 
the  affairs  of  Brabant  his  plan  was  to  raise  a  popular  party 
which,  in  case  of  the  independence  of  that  country,  should 
be  considered  as  the  French  party  ;  or,  at  any  rate,  by  sow 
ing  dissension,  facilitate  the  re-establishment  of  imperial 

*  The  Abbe  Maury  defended  with  skill  and  eloquence  the  cause  of  the  mon 
archy,  the  church,  and  the  nobles  in  the  National  Assembly.  He  became 
afterward  an  archbishop  and  a  cardinal,  and  died  in  1817,  having  witnessed 
the  Bourbon  restoration.  He  was  born  in  1746. 

t  Count  Charles  de  la  Marck  was  Minister  of  Marine  from  October,  1790,  to 
May,  1791. 

?  Count  Mercy  d'Argenteau  was  Austrian  ambassador  from  the  Court  of 
Vienna  to  Paris  in  1791.  He  advised  the  flight  of  the  royal  family. 


authority.  The  Comte  de  Mercy  is,  he  says,  one  of  the 
ablest  statesmen  in  Europe.  Visit  Madame  Dumolley, 
who  is  very  desirous  of  my  visits,  because  she  finds  I  keep 
company  that  she  cannot  reach.  Leave  her,  go  to  the 
Palais  Royal,  and  sup  with  the  Duchess.  Madame  de 
St.  Priest,  who  is  here,  wishes  to  know  my  opinion  of  what 
has  lately  passed  at  the  Louvre.  I  evade  it  handsomely, 
and  Madame  de  Chastellux  tells  me  so,  being  a  little  vexed, 
because  she  says  that  they  will  quote  against  her  what  I 
have  said,  and  which  they  will  understand  very  different 
ly  from  the  true  meaning.  I  ask  her  about  the  Comte  de 
la  Marck,  and  find  that  I  am  acquainted  with  him.  He  is 
intimately  united  with  Mirabeau,  is  devoured  by  ambition, 
and  of  profligate  morals.  Nous  voilti  done  au  fait.  M. 
d'Agout  comes  in.  He  is  just  arrived  from  Switzerland, 
and  brings  me  many  civil  sayings  from  Madame  de  Tesse, 
who  is  become  a  convert,  she  says,  to  my  principles  of 
government.  There  will  be  many  more  such  converts." 

"  This  morning  [March  7th]  I  write,  being  still  unwell. 
In  the  evening  Madame  de  Flahaut  calls  at  the  door,  and 
sends  to  know  how  I  do.  She  will  not  come  up,  although 
her  husband  and  nephew  are  with  her.  Go  to  Madame 
de  Chastellux's,  where  we  take  tea  ;  a  trio,  of  which  the 
Duchess  makes  the  third.  Visit  Madame  de  Nadaillac,  who 
has  been  ill.  We  converse  about  her  malady,  afterwards 
upon  religion,  and  she  wishes  to  know  whether  I  have  the 
virtue  of  an  American,  which  she  doubts,  because  she  is 
pleased  to  say  I  have  the  amiableness  of  a  Frenchman.  I 
leave  that  matter  a  little  doubtful,  but  she  seems  a  little 
displeased  that  her  husband  comes  in,  which  is  a  good 
sign.  Make  my  visit  neither  long  nor  short,  and  I  per 
ceive  that  both  are  content." 

"  I  go  to  the  Louvre  [March  i2th]  to  take  Madame  de 
Flahaut  to  drive  ;  but  the  Baron  de  Montesquieu  is  here, 


who  wants  to  get  into  office,  and  then  comes  the  toilette, 
and  then  Mademoiselle  Duplessis,  so  I  go  to  call  on  Ma 
dame  de  Chastellux.  Swan  calls  and  tells  me  what  I  had 
hinted  to  him;  viz.,  that  Roederer's  motions  and  resolutions 
have  cut  up  the  regie  by  the  roots.  Ternant  calls,  with 
whom  I  converse  a  little  on  those  things.  Dine  with  the 
Comte  de  Montmorin,  and,  as  Montesquieu  comes  in  after 
dinner,  I  mention  those  things  to  him.  He  wishes  me  to 
have  a  memoire  drawn.  Go,  after  dinner,  to  the  Academy 
of  Physicians,  where  Vicq  d'Azyr*  pronounces  the  eulogi- 
um  of  Doctor  Franklin." 

"I  go  [March  i;th]  to  supper  to-night  at  Madame 
d'Angivilliers.  Madame  de  Condorcet  is  here.  She  is 
handsome,  and  has  un  air  spirituel.  Talk  with  Condorcet  •)• 
after  supper  on  the  principles  of  the  e'conomistes.  I  tell 

*  Felix  Vicq  d'Azyr  possessed  great  attractions  of  person  and  manner,  and 
as  a  writer,  professor,  and  orator  was  judged  a  worthy  successor  to  Buffon 
at  the  French  Academy.  He  was  the  great  promoter  of  the  Academy  of 
Medicine,  and  he  represented  a  new  phase  in  the  progress  of  social  science  ; 
Vicq  d'Azyr  was  perhaps  the  first  physician  who  practised  his  profession  in 
Paris  without  a  wig.  He  was  chosen  as  the  physician  of  Marie  Antoinette, 
and  his  short  career  embraced  all  the  time  that  was  accorded  to  the  reign 
of  Louis  XVI.,  for  he  only  survived  a  short  time  after  the  2ist  of  January, 
1793,  and  perished  a  moral  victim  to  the  terrors  of  the  Revolution.  He  was 
born  in  Normandy  in  April,  1748. 

t  The  last  of  the  philosophers  of  the  eighteenth  century  was  M.  de  Condorcet, 
secretary  of  the  Academy  of  Sciences,  the  successor  of  d'Alembert,  the  last 
correspondent  of  Voltaire,  and  the  friend  of  Turgot.  In  his  salon,  which  was 
the  centre  of  thinking  Europe,  where  distinguished  persons  from  far  and  near 
were  to  be  found,  perhaps  the  most  attractive  feature  was  Madame  Condor 
cet,  his  lively,  refined,  and  sympathetic  wife.  Always  master  of  himself,  Con 
dorcet  talked  little,  listened  to  everything,  profited  by  everything,  and  for 
got  nothing.  His  sympathy  was  far-reaching,  ready  to  embrace  everything, 
from  the  profound  questions  of  the  moment  to  the  latest  fashion  in  woman's 
dress.  In  1789  he  ardently  embraced  the  popular  cause,  and  voted  gener 
ally  with  the  Girondists,  but  not  for  the  king's  death.  He  attacked  violently 
the  Constitution  of  1793,  and  was  obliged  to  seek  safety  against  the  Revolution, 
and  for  eight  months  he  found  an  asylum  in  the  house  of  Madame  Vernet, 
where  he  wrote  his  famous  Progres  de  1'esprit  humain.  A  longing  for  fresh 
air  impelled  him  to  leave  his  house  ;  he  was  arrested,  thrown  into  prison,  and 
ended  his  life  by  poison. 


him,  which  is  true,  that  once  I  adopted  those  principles 
from  books,  but  that  I  have  since  changed  them  from  bet 
ter  knowledge  of  human  affairs  and  more  mature  reflec 
tion.  In  the  close  of  our  discussion  I  tell  him  that  if  the 
impot  direct  be  heavy,  it  will  not  be  paid.  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut  was  taken  ill  to-day  while  she  and  Mademoiselle  Du- 
plessis  were  driving  with  me.  We  returned  to  the  Louvre, 
put  her  to  bed,  and  played  whist  by  her  bedside.  Vicq 
d'Azyr  comes  in,  and  we  have  a  little  conversation  respect 
ing  the  conduct  to  be  pursued  by  the  Court.  I  give  him 
some  hints  as  to  the  past  by  way  of  elucidating  the  future, 
and  he  is  equally  surprised  at  the  information  and  at  the 
force  of  my  reasons.  I  see  this  in  his  countenance." 

"  Spend  the  evening  [March  2oth]  at  the  Louvre.  Sev 
eral  persons  come  in  and  go  out.  At  length  we  divide  into 
parties  to  see  the  illumination  of  Paris  for  the  King's  re 
covery.  It  is  a  dreadful  night,  the  wind  very  high  indeed, 
from  the  westward,  with  rain.  The  illumination  was  the 
poorest,  barest  thing  imaginable.  M.  de  St.  Foi  comes 
in  between  ten  and  eleven,  and  tells  us  that  the  Pope  has 
laid  the  kingdom  under  an  interdict.  This  must  produce 
some  movement  as  soon  as  it  is  known.  The  Duchess  of 
Orleans  to-day,  when  I  dined  with  her,  is  so  kind  as  to 
reproach  me  with  absenting  myself.  After  dinner,  I  visit 
Madame  de  Nadaillac.  Her  reception  is  rather  that  of  a 
coquette  than  a  devote." 

"  I  cannot  work  in  my  apartment  to-day  [March  25th] 
"because  my  servants  want  to  clear  my  chambers  for  the 
reception  of  company.  I  therefore  go  to  see  Madame  de 
Flahaut.  The  servants  being  out  of  the  way,  I  announce 
myself.  Madame  is  tete-a-tete  with  M.  de  Ricy.  She  cries 
out,  with  suddenness  and  alarm,  '  Qui  est-ce  la  ? '  Upon 
naming  myself,  'Je  vais  vous  renvoyer  tout  de  suite;' 
I  turn  and  leave  them.  I  have  to  dine  with  me  Mes- 


dames  de  Lafayette,  Segur,  Beaumont,  and  Fersensac. 
The  Abbe  Delille  is  one  of  the  gentlemen.  I  tell  Short, 
who  is  one  of  the  guests,  that  he  has  but  little  chance  of 
being  appointed  to  this  Court ;  that  Jefferson  wishes  him 
to  return  to  America,  and  that  the  appointment  rests 
entirely  in  Washington's  bosom ;  that  it  is  to  be  made 
this  session.  I  show  him  the  memoire  and  notes  I  have 
made  about  tobacco.  Speaking  about  the  actings  and  do 
ings  of  the  Assembly  in  this  regard,  he  says  that  the  Due 
de  la  Rochefoucault  is  led  by  Roederer  and  Condorcet, 
who  are  both  rascals.  I  remind  him  that  I  had  judged  the 
latter  long  since  by  his  countenance." 

"  Visit  Madame  de  Chastellux  [March  26th].  The 
Duchess,  to  whom  I  mention  the  reason  why  I  did  not  ask 
her  to  breakfast,  expresses  a  great  inclination  to  come  some 
day  or  other.  Madame  de  Montmorin  to-day  shows  me  the 
letter  of  General  Washington*  to  the  Assembly  printed  in 
one  of  the  public  papers.  It  is  not  what  the  violent  Revo 
lutionists  would  have  wished,  and  contains  a  hint  respect 
ing  Lafayette  which  his  enemies  will  not  fail  to  notice. 
Hence  to  Madame  de  Segur's,  who  presses  me  to  stay  and 
dine,  which  I  refuse.  Dine,  as  I  had  promised,  with  the 
Duchess  of  Orleans,  to  see  her  daughter.  It  is  a  pretty 
little  princess  and  has  an  air  tres  fin.  Go  from  thence  to 
Madame  de  Foucault's.  The  conversation  is  immediately 
turned  upon  love.  In  the  course  of  it  I  observe  that  I 
have  remarked  '  deux  especes  d'hommes.  Les  uns  sont 
faits  pour  etre  peres  de  famille  et  les  autres  pour  leur 

*  On  the  27th  of  January,  1791,  Washington  wrote  to  the  President  of  the 
National  Assembly  acknowledging  the  tribute  paid  to  Franklin,  which  had 
been  sent  to  Washington  in  the  form  of  a  letter  of  condolence.  He  at  the 
same  time  desired  the  president  to  convey  to  the  National  Assembly  his  inter 
est  in  their  efforts  to  establish  in  France  a  firm  constitution  for  the  diffusion 
of  the  true  principles  of  liberty,  assimilating  as  well  as  ameliorating  the  con 
dition  of  mankind,  and  convincing  them  that  their  interest  would  best  be  pro 
moted  by  mutual  good  will  and  harmony. 

i79i.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  395 

faire  des  enfants.'     She  is  delighted  with  this  observation. 
Chaumont  reads  me  a  part  of  Laforet's  letter  to  him,  giv-. 
ing  a  very  exalted  idea  of  the  situation  of  America  and 
counselling  purchases  of  land  and  stock." 

"At  Madame  de  Chastellux's  [March  28th]  there  is  a 
breakfast.  The  English  ambassador*  and  his  lady  are 
here.  If  I  might  judge  from  her  manner,  I  have  made  a 
little  progress  in  her  esteem.  We  shall  see.  This  morn 
ing  I  got  a  fall  in  the  street  which  barks  my  stump  a  little. 
Go  to  sup  with  Madame  de  Nadaillac.  Tell  the  Abbe 
Maury  that  I  expect  he  will  get  the  hat  the  Cardinal  de 
Lomenie  has  sent  back.  I  tell  him  also  that  the  Holy 
Father  has  done  wrong  in  not  laying  the  kingdom  under 
an  interdict.  He  answers  that  opinion  is  no  longer  with 
the  Saint  Siege,  and  that  without  an  army  to  support  the 
interdict  it  would  be  laughed  at ;  that  the  instance  of  Eng 
land  Ynakes  Rome  cautious.  I  reply  that  the  cases  are 
somewhat  different,  but,  further,  as  the  Assembly  have  left 
the  Pope  nothing  he  might  play  a  sure  game,  since  he  can 
lose  no  more,  and  at  any  rate  he  had  better  have  done 
nothing  than  only  one-half  of  what  he  might  do,  because 
mankind  may,  by  degrees,  be  habituated  to  everything. 
He  agrees  to  the  truth  of  this,  and  owns  that  he  should 
have  preferred  extremities.  I  tell  him  that,  from  the  mo 
ment  when  the  church  property  was  seized,  I  considered 
the  Catholic  religion  at  an  end,  because  nobody  would  be 
priest  for  nothing.  He  agrees  fully. 

"  To-night,  at  the  Theatre  de  la  Nation,  there  is  a  dread 
ful  representation  of  monastic  vengeance  and  guilt.  See 
Madame  de  Chastellux,  who  tells  me  that  the  British  am- 

*  George  Grenville,  second  marquis,  who  during  his  father's  lifetime  was 
summoned  to  Parliament  as  Baron  Gower.  His  lordship,  who  was  a  privy 
councillor  and  Knight  of  the  Garter,  was  created  Duke  of  Sutherland,  Janu 
ary  28,  1833.  He  married,  September,  1785,  Elizabeth,  Countess  of  Suther 
land,  and  Baroness  of  Strathnaver  in  her  own  right. 

396  DIARY   AND    LETTERS   OF          [CHAP.  XVIII. 

bassadress  is  much  pleased  with  me.  She  says  the  poor 
Princess  is  very  ill  at  ease." 

"I  dine  [April  ist]  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  After 
dinner  go  to  the  opera,  and  leave  it  early  to  take  Madame 
de  Flahaut  to  Madame  de  Laborde's.  In  the  way,  we  call 
to  inquire  about  Mirabeau's  health.  Guards  stop  us,  lest  the 
carriage  should  disturb  his  repose.  I  am  shocked  at  such 
honors  paid  to  such  a  wretch.  On  this  subject  I  quarrel 
with  Madame  de  Flahaut.  I  stay  at  Madame  de  Laborde's 
till  eleven,  and  then  go  to  Madame  de  StaeTs.  The  Eng 
lish  ambassadress  is  here,  and  receives  me  very  well." 

"Madame  de  Lafayette  tells  me  to-day  [April  2d]  that  I 
am  in  love  with  Madame  de  Beaumont.  I  own  it,  though 
it  is  not  true.  She  says  that  her  company  must  be  insipid, 
after  such  agreeable  people.  Que  veut.dire  cela?  Go  to 
M.  de  Montmorin's  to  dine.  After  dinner  go  to  the 
Louvre.  Mirabeau  died  this  day.  I  tell  the  Bishop 
d'Autun  that  he  should  step  into  the  vacancy  he  has 
made,  and  to  that  effect  should  pronounce  his  funeral 
oration,  in  which  he  should  make  a  summary  of  his  life, 
and  dwell  particularly  on  the  last  weeks  in  which  he 
labored  to  establish  order ;  then  dwell  on  the  necessity  of 
order,  and  introduce  properly  the  King.  He  says  his 
thoughts  have  run  much  upon  that  subject  this  day.  I 
tell  him  he  has  not  a  moment  to  lose,  and  that  such  occa 
sions  rarely  present  themselves.  I  spoke  to  the  Cotnte  de 
Montmorin  about  a  successor  to  Mirabeau  this  day,  but  he 
tells  me  that  he  cannot  easily  see  who  shall  be  put  into  his 
place.  He  owns  that  Mirabeau  was  determined  to  ruin 
Lafayette,  and  says  that  he  had  held  him  back  for  some 
time.  He  says  that  Lafayette  is  a  reed,  good  for  nothing. 
He  thinks  that  there  is  no  chance  now  left  but  to  convoke 
the  next  Assembly  as  soon  as  may  be,  excluding  the 
members  of  the  present,  and  that  the  meeting  should  be 

i79i.]  GOUVERNEUR   MORRIS.  397 

far  from  Paris.  The  theatres  are  shut  this  day.  The 
weather  is  fine." 

But  of  what  use  was  it,  if  Mirabeau  was  dead — so  all 
Paris  and  the  Assembly  felt,  as  they  sat  and  stared  at  the 
vacant  chair,  where  the  immense  athletic  creature,  with 
"a  vast  forehead  which  seemed  made  to  carry  the  burden 
of  thought,"  had  so  lately  sat.  During  this  day  of  mourn 
ing,  amusements  were  forbidden.  A  marquise  dared  to 
give  a  ball.  The  furious  crowd  besieged  the  house,  and 
maltreated  some  of  her  noble  guests,  who  were  obliged 
to  take  out  their  swords  to  defend  themselves.  For  eight 
days  all  the  departments  were  in  mourning,  as  for  a 
national  calamity.  The  Bishop  of  Autun  administered 
ghostly  consolation  to  the  dying  Mirabeau,  and  the  people 
mourned  him  dead.  Nothing  like  it  had  been  known  be 
fore,  not  even  when  lamentations  rent  the  air,  and  ringing 
bells  sounded  through  the  streets  with  the  cry,  "  Le  bon 
Roi  Louis,  pere  du  peuple,  est  mort." 

"  A  wonderfully  fine  day  [April  3d].  I  go  to  Marli.  Ma 
dame  du  Bourg  receives  me  with  the  joy  of  one  who 
wishes  something  from  a  city  to  vary  the  sameness  of  the 
lane.  After  dinner  we  walk  much  about  the  garden,  and 
we  see  many  scenes  of  rural  love.  The  shepherds  and 
shepherdesses  seem  to  care  but  little  for  the  appearance 
of  strangers,  but  pursue  their  gambols  as  freely  as  their 
flocks  and  herds.  This  furnishes  the  matter  of  our  con 
versation.  Return  to  town,  and  spend  the  evening  with 
the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  Madame  de  Lootange  is  here. 
There  is  a  violence  of  aristocracy  in  her,  as  in  many  oth 
ers,  which  is  diverting.  She  is  handsome." 

"  To-day  [April  4th]  I  go  along  the  boulevards  as  far  as 
the  convoi  of  Mirabeau  will  permit  ;  then  go  back  to  the 
Marais,  where  I  visit  M.  and  Madame  de  la  Luzerne. 
They  receive  me  tfautant  mieux  as  that,  being  no  longer 


minister,  my  attention  cannot  be  suspected.  Visit  Madame 
de  Nadaillac,  where  I  arn  led  into  an  altercation  un  pen 
vive  with  monsieur,  who,  among  other  ridiculous  notions  of 
aristocratic  folly,  expresses  a  wish  for  the  dismemberment 
of  France.  I  call  on  Madame  de  Chastellux  for  a  few 
minutes.  She  is  to  inform  me  to-morrow  whether  the  ex 
pedition  to  Sceaux  takes  place  the  day  after.  I  cannot 
\vait  for  her  Royal  Highness,  but  make  a  short  visit  to  the 
Louvre.  It  has  been  a  prodigious  fine  day.  The  funeral 
of  Mirabeau  (attended,  it  is  said,  by  more  than  one  hun 
dred  thousand  persons,  in  solemn  silence)  has  been  an 
imposing  spectacle.  It  is  a  vast  tribute  paid  to  superior 
talents,  but  no  great  incitement  to  virtuous  deeds.  Vices, 
both  degrading  and  detestable,  marked  this  extraordinary 
creature.  Completely  prostitute,  he  sacrificed  everything 
to  the  whim  of  the  moment.  Cupidus  alieni,  prodigus  sui ; 
venal,  shameless,  and  yet  greatly  virtuous  when  pushed 
by  a  prevailing  impulse,  but  never  truly  virtuous,  because 
never  under  the  steady  control  of  reason  nor  the  firm  au 
thority  of  principle,  I  have  seen  this  man,  in  the  short 
space  of  two  years,  hissed,  honored,  hated,  mourned. 
Enthusiasm  has  just  now  presented  him  gigantic  ;  time 
and  reflection  will  shrink  that  stature.  The  busy  idle 
ness  of  the  hour  must  find  some  other  object  to  execrate 
or  to  exalt.  Such  is  man,  and  particularly  the  French 

Marat  alone  was  violent  against  the  dead  man,  and 
called  upon  the  people  to  give  thanks  that  Riquetti  was 
no  more.  In  less  than  three  years  the  Convention  of  the 
Revolution  decreed  that,  "Le  corps  d'Honore  Gabriel  Ri 
quetti  Mirabeau  sera  retire  du  Pantheon  francais,  celtii 
de  Marat  y  sera  transfere."  In  1794,  in  the  silence  of  the 
night,  coldly  and  strictly  was  this  arretd  executed,  and  the 
man  who  had  been  so  feted  was  put,  near  the  meeting  of 


many  streets,  into  a  nameless  grave,  over  which  daily  the 
hurrying  crowds  pass. 

Lafayette  told  Morris  that  he  thought  the  Bishop  of 
Autun  would  replace  Mirabeau  in  the  Diplomatic  Com 
mittee  ;  but  the  man  whom  Mirabeau  had  contemplated 
with  apprehensive  curiosity  for  so  long,  the  man  whose 
words  were  so  carefully  prepared  and  arranged  and 
whose  attitude  was  so  grave,  was  the  man  who  was  to 
take  his  place  and  go  far  beyond  him.  When  Mirabeau 
disappeared,  Robespierre  almost  immediately  came  to  the 

"  Dine  with  M.  de  Montmorin  to-day  [April  8th].  After 
dinner,  take  him  aside  and  express  my  opinion  that  a 
speedy  dissolution  of  the  present  Assembly  would  be  dan 
gerous.  Their  successors  would  be  chosen  by  the  Jaco 
bins,  whereas,  if  some  months  are  suffered  to  elapse,  the 
Jacobins  and  municipalities  will  be  at  war,  because  the 
latter  will  not  brook  the  influence  of  the  former.  He  says 
that  he  fears  the  municipalities  will  be  entirely  under  the 
guidance  of  the  Jacobins.  This  is,  I  think,  a  vain  fear. 
He  thinks  that  more  of  the  present  members  should  be  re- 
eligible.  I  differ  in  opinion,  because  he  knows  the  char 
acter  and  talents  of  the  present  set  and  can  buy  such  as, 
after  reelection,  may  suit  his  purpose.  He  says  they  are  not 
worth  buying,  and  would,  for  the  most  part,  take  money, 
to  act  as  they  please  ;  that  if  Mirabeau  had  lived,  he  would 
have  gratified  him  to  the  extent  of  his  desires.  He  says 
they  must  now  work  in  the  provinces  to  secure  the  elec 
tions  ;  but  I  ask  how  he  is  to  know  the  inclination  and 
capacity  of  members  elect.  He  owns  this  to  be  difficult. 
Speaking  of  the  Court,  he  tells  me  that  the  King  is  abso 
lutely  good  for  nothing  ;  that  at  present  he  always  asks, 
when  he  is  at  work  with  the  King,  that  the  Queen  be  pres 
ent.  I  ask  if  he  is  well  with  the  Queen.  He  says  that  he 


is,  and  has  been  for  some  months.     I  am  sincerely  glad  of 
this,  and  tell  him  so. 

11  Spend  an  hour  with  the  Duchess  of  Orleans.  She 
gives  me  the  relation  of  some  new  horrors  attending  the 
Revolution.  She  has  been  this  morning  to  visit  a  sick 
bishop.  Return  home,  and  read  the  answer  of  Paine  to 
Burke's  book  ;  there  are  good  things  in  the  answer  as 
well  as  in  the  book.  Paine  calls  on  me.  He  says  that 
he  found  great  difficulty  in  prevailing  on  any  bookseller 
to  publish  his  book  ;  that  it  is  extremely  popular  in  Eng 
land,  and,  of  course,  the  writer,  which  he  considers  as  one 
among  the  many  uncommon  revolutions  of  this  age.  He 
turns  the  conversation  on  times  of  yore,  and  as  he  mentions 
me  among  those  who  were  his  enemies,  I  frankly  acknowl 
edge  that  I  urged  his  dismissal  from  the  office  he  held  of 
secretary  to  the  Committee  of  Foreign  Affairs. 

"Madame  de  Chastellux  tells  me  that  the  Duchess  of 
Orleans  sets  off  to-morrow,  under  pretence  of  her  father 
being  indisposed,  to  visit  him,  but,  in  fact,  to  bring  about 
a  separation  with  her  husband,  whose  conduct  is  become 
too  brutal  to  be  borne.  Poor  woman,  she  looks  wretched  ! 
Visit  Madame  de  Nadaillac,  and  by  a  rambling  conversa 
tion  get  more  ground  than  she  is  aware  of.  She  talks  of 
religion,  duty,  and  conjugal  vows  before  there  is  any  oc 
casion,  but  to  her  surprise  I  agree  that  these  vows  should 
be  held  sacred.  Tell  her  that  it  is  a  happy  circumstance 
for  her  that  she  loves  her  husband,  because  that  otherwise 
she  could  not  but  entertain  another  passion,  which  would 
prove  at  length  too  strong." 

"This  morning  [April  pth]  M.  Bremond  calls  on  me. 
In  the  course  of  conversation  I  mention  the  claims  of  the 
German  princes  upon  France  for  supplies  furnished  a  long 
time  ago.  He  opens  this  matter  up  to  me,  and  says  that 
he  has  agreements  already  made  with  them,  and  wants 


only  about  1,200,000!  to  complete  the  affair,  which  will 
give  at  least  twelve  millions.  In  the  course  of  conversa 
tion,  he  asks  if  I  will  propose  the  matter  to  M.  de  Mont- 
morin.  I  am  to  consider  of  it,  and  he  is  to  call  to-morrow 
and  furnish  me  with  the  proper  materials  to  converse 
upon.  Mr.  Short  and  I  have  a  long  conversation  on  Ameri 
can  finance,  and  I  endeavor  to  show  him  that  the  proposi 
tion  made  in  the  name  of  Schwitzer,  Jeanneret  &  Co.  is  a 
good  one  for  the  United  States,  provided  they  abate  the 
commission.  This  is  my  sincere  belief.  I  tell  him  also 
that  from  what  the  parties  have  said  to  and  shown  to  me,  I 
am  convinced  that  they  have  great  strength  both  with  the 
Court  and  in  the  Assembly  ;  that  an  operation  of  this  sort 
would  be  so  much  the  more  useful,  as  the  United  States 
might  make  use  of  all  this  credit  to  support  their  domestic 
operations.  The  conversation  is  long,  and  he  is  a  little 
changed  in  his  opinions.  I  tell  him  some  things  which 
may  render  him  a  little  cautious  respecting  Mr.  Swan,  who 
is,  I  find,  in  the  habit  of  using  both  our  names  for  his  par 
ticular  purposes. 

"  I  take  Mademoiselle  Duplessis  to  Madame  de  Flahaut's, 
where  we  dine  at  her  bedside,  and  afterwards  visit  Madame 
de  Nadaillac.  Her  friend  the  Abbe  Maury  is  with  her, 
and  I  leave  them  together.  She  desires  to  see  me  again, 
which  I  promise.  She  is  at  Gros  Caillou,  to  attend  the  in 
oculation  of  her  children.  Madame  de  Flahaut  asks  me 
to-day  whom  I  would  recommend,  in  case  of  widowhood, 
to  be  her  husband.  I  tell  her  that  I  understand  that  it  is 
in  contemplation  to  permit  the  marriage  of  the  clergy. 
She  says  she  will  never  marry  the  Bishop,  because  she 
cannot  go  with  him  to  the  altar  without  mentioning  first 
her  connection  with  another.  Visit  Madame  Dumolley, 
who  wants  to  know  why  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  is  gone 
to  the  town  of  Eu.  I  pretend  ignorance." 


"At  ten  [April  i3th]  I  call  on  M.  de  Montmorin.  En 
ter  fully  with  him  both  into  his  situation  and  that  of  the 
kingdom.  Propose  the  affair  of  the  rations,  and  offer 
him  the  interest  agreed  on.  He  declines  being  inter 
ested,  and  after  much  conversation  agrees  to  push  it  on 
account  of  the  King,  provided  the  matter  be  secret.  He 
says  he  can  rely  on  me,  and  that  His  Majesty  will,  he  be 
lieves,  have  the  like  confidence.  I  am  to  give  him  a  note 
this  day  to  be  laid  before  the  King.  Go  to  Jeanneret's 
and  inform  Bremond  of  Montmorin's  refusal,  and  at  the 
same  time  give  him  to  understand  that  the  business  will 
be  done.  Prepare  the  note  for  His  Majesty.  Go  to  dine 
with  M.  de  Montmorin,  and  after  dinner  give  him  the 
note.  He  tells  me  that  he  must  communicate  the  affair  to 
the  Comte  de  la  Marck.  Their  political  connections  are  such 
that  he  cannot  avoid  the  communication.  He  will  give 
me  a  definitive  answer  on  Monday  morning. 

"  Go  to  Madame  de  StaeTs.  Converse  here  with  the 
Duchesse  de  la  Rochefoucault.  Madame  de  Stael  reads 
her  tragedy  of  '  Montmorenci.'  She  writes  much  better 
than  she  reads.  Her  character  of  the  Cardinal  de  Riche 
lieu  is  drawn  with  much  ability.  The  society  is  small,  and 
we  have  no  small  reprehension  of  the  Assemblee  Nationale, 
who,  it  must  be  confessed,  act  weakly  enough.  N'importe. 
Call  at  the  Louvre,  where  I  find  M.  de  Curt  making  verses 
and  love  to  Madame  de  Flahaut." 

"Call  on  Madame  de  Nadaillac  [April  i5th],  whose 
children  begin  to  sicken  with  the  small-pox.  We  talk  of 
religion  and  sentiment,  but  I  am  much  mistaken  if  she 
does  not  think  of  something  else.  Leave  my  name  for 
the  British  ambassadress,  and  go  to  dine  with  Madame 
Foucault.  She  tells  me  that  her  husband  has  abandoned 
his  project  of  going  to  England,  which  she  was  delighted 
with,  and  says  that  my  description  of  it  has  deterred  him. 


I  must  endeavor  to  put  this  to  rights.  Her  physician,  also, 
has  agreed  to  advise  the  jaunt  as  needful  for  her  health. 
Shortly  after  dinner  I  go  to  the  Louvre.  We  are  present 
ly  interrupted  by  Vicq  d'Azyr,  with  whom  Madame  de 
Flahaut  has  a  conversation  about  the  Bishop.  I  presume 
that  it  is  to  put  him  well  with  the  Queen.  After  this,  another 
interruption  by  her  sister  and  a  M.  Dumas,  who  brings  dis 
agreeable  tidings  respecting  an  affair  in  which  she  was  con 
cerned.  Then  comes  M.  de  Curt,  full  of  amorous  declara 
tion  and  protestation.  I  leave  this  scene  at  eight,  and  go 
again  to  Madame  Foucault's.  She  tells  me  that  her  hus 
band  has  taken  it  into  his  head  to  go  to  Nantes,  and  in 
that  case  she  is  resolved  to  go  to  England  with  one  of  her 
friends  or  with  me.  She  says  he  is  a  very  bad  fellow- 
traveller.  At  ten  M.  Stebell  comes  in.  A  Mademoiselle 
Chevalier,  about  fifteen,  plays  on  the  forte-piano  admirably 
well  a  piece  of  her  own  composition,  which  has  great 
merit.  Her  brother,  younger  than  herself,  plays  another 
piece  very  well.  After  that  M.  Stebell,  who  is  wonderful. 
This  man  makes  from  five  to  ten  guineas  per  day.  He 
receives  for  his  visit  here  this  evening  fifty  livres.  It  is 
said  that  he  wastes  with  levity  what  he  acquires  with  so 
much  ease." 

"  This  morning  [April  i6th]  I  visit  Paine  and  Mr. 
Hodges.  The  former  is  abroad,  the  latter  in  the  wretched 
apartments  which  they  occupy.  He  speaks  of  Paine  as 
being  a  little  mad,  which  is  not  improbable.  Visit  Madame 
de  Trudaine,*  who  being  denied,  I  ask  for  paper  and  com 
mence  a  note  to  her,  but  before  it  is  finished  a  servant 

*  The  salon  of  Madame  de  Trudaine  was  known  familiarly  as  the  Salon 
du  Gargon  Philosophe.  At  one  or  two  grand  dinners  and  suppers  a  week 
she  entertained  all  the  dukes,  ambassadors,  gentlemen  of  letters  and  finance, 
strangers,  and  ministers.  The  conversation  was  at  the  same  time  solid  and 
piquant.  The  mistress  of  the  salon  sometimes  marred  the  perfect  accord  of 
her  guests  by  her  indifference. 


asks  me  up.  She  is  dressing,  and  St.  Andre  comes  up. 
Nothing  here.  Madame  receives  me  well,  and  we  are  to 
be  unpeu  plus  lie's  ensemble.  Call  on  Short,  and  take  him  to 
Madame  de  StaeTs.  After  dinner  we  have  a  fine  scene  of 
vociferous  argumentation  between  her  and  an  abbe.  I 
tell  her  that  when  she  gets  to  Switzerland  she  must  let  her 
head  cool,  and  then  digest  her  ideas  of  government,  which 
will  become  sound  by  her  own  reflections.  Go  from 
thence  to  Madame  de  Beaumont's,  where  we  make  a  long 
visit,  and  then  go  to  the  Louvre,  and  after  a  while  Madame 
goes  into  the  bath,  and  the  society  wait  on  her  there.  I 
stay  till  after  supper,  and  then  take  Mademoiselle  Duplessis 
home.  In  the  way  I  am  sprightly,  and  she  is  pleased. 
Ternant,  whom  I  saw  at  M.  de  Montmorin's,  tells  me  that 
Fleurieu,  the  Minister  of  the  Marine,  is  about  to  quit  his 
post,  and  that  he  thinks  he  will  be  replaced  by  M.  de 
Bougainville.  Montmorin  reminded  me  that  I  am  to  call 
on  Monday." 

"  Go  [April  i yth]  after  dinner  to  the  Louvre.  We  visit 
together  Madame  de  Nadaillac,  whose  son  is  ill  with  the 
small-pox.  Madame  de  Flahaut,  after  returning  home, 
takes  again  her  bath.  I  go  to  Madame  de  StaeTs  ;  a  brill 
iant  society.  The  British  ambassadress,  who  is  here,  is 
much  entoure'e  by  the  young  men  of  fashion.  At  coming 
away  the  Comte  de  Montmorin,  who  is  here,  tells  me  that 
he  cannot  give  me  an  answer  to-morrow,  not  having  been 
able  to  speak  to  the  King  this  day.  It  has  been  fine 

"This  morning  [April  i8th]  Swan  and  Bremond  come.  I 
converse  with  them  respecting  the  supply  of  rations  to  the 
French  marine.  We  have  this  day  very  much  of  a  riot  at 
the  Tuileries.  The  King  intends  for  St.  Cloud,  but  is 
stopped,  not  merely  by  the  populace,  but  by  the  national 
militia,  who  refuse  to  obey  their  general.  It  seems  that 


His  Majesty,  having  sanctioned  the  decree  respecting  the 
clergy,  and  afterwards  applied  to  one  of  the  non-jurors  to 
perform  the  ceremonies  enjoined  at  this  season,  has  in 
curred  the  charge  of  duplicity.  I  am  a  long  time  in  ex 
pectation  of  a  battle,  but  am  at  length  told  that  the  King 
submits.  Call  at  the  Louvre,  where  I  find  M.  de  Curt 
established.  Go  away  directly,  and  visit  Madame  de  Na- 
daillac.  As  she  urges  me  to  prolong  my  visit,  and  as  it 
is  late,  I  send  to  the  guinguette  for  a  matelote,  and  dine  in 
her  chamber.  She  makes  many  fa$ons,  but  we  get  along. 
We  shall  see  how  things  go,  by  and  by.  .  .  .  M.  Vicq 
d'Azyr  shows  me  the  letter  written  by  the  department 
to  the  King.  It  is  dictatorial  in  the  extreme.  Madame 
de  Flahaut  had  already  informed  me  of  it,  but  I  am  obliged 
to  disapprove  of  it." 



Shows  M.  de  Montmorin  draught  of  a  letter  devised  as  an  answer  from  the 
king  to  the  department.  The  entotirs  of  the  king  resign.  Resignation 
of  Lafayette.  Sketch  of  European  politics  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Inglis,  of 
London.  A  republic  becoming  fashionable.  Lady  Sutherland's  gra- 
ciousness.  Lafayette  accepts  the  position  of  head  of  the  National 
Guards.  Montesquiou  asks  Morris  how  to  amend  the  constitution. 
Celebration  of  the  suppression  of  the  octroi.  Conversation  with 
Montmorin.  Madame  de  Nadaillac's  coquettish  character.  Morris 
suggests  to  several  ladies  positions  near  the  queen.  Madame  de  Fla- 
haut  expects  one  soon.  Montmorin  weary  of  the  situation.  Visit  to 
Madame  de  Nadaillac. 

morning  [April  2oth]  M.  Bremond  and  M. 
Jaubert  call.  Set  them  to  work  to  bring  the 
Jacobins  to  the  King's  relief  in  the  attack  of  the  depart 
ment.  I  dress  and  visit  the  Comte  de  Montmorin,  to  whom 
I  show  the  form  of  a  letter  I  had  devised  as  an  answer  from 
the  King  to  the  department.  He  tells  me  that  these  last 
were  frightened  into  the  step  they  have  taken.  This  is,  I 
know,  partly  true,  but  it  is  also  true  that  the  step  is  bold 
and,  if  successful,  decisive.  After  conversing  upon  the 
present  state  of  affairs,  we  have  one  word  on  business.  He 
has  not  been  able  to  attend  to  it,  from  the  circumstances  of 
the  moment.  Visit  Madame  de  Montmorin,  and  sit  some 
time  ;  she  is  much  distressed  by  the  fear  of  pillage  and  in 
sult,  the  Baron  de  Menou  having  denounced  her  hus 
band  last  night.  I  laugh  at  this  denunciation  as  ridicu 
lous,  and  endeavor  to  quiet  her  apprehensions.  Go  from 
thence  to  the  Gros  Caillou  and  visit  Madame  de  Nadaillac, 


who  disserts  a  great  deal  upon  politics  with  much  heat 
and  absurdity.  It  fatigues  me.  Dine  with  Mr.  Short. 
Ternant,  who  is  here,  tells  me  that  he  urged  Lafayette  to 
resign,  and  that  he  agreed,  but  found  afterwards  various 
reasons  for  not  doing  it.  This  is  like  him.  M.  de  Chate- 
let  has  brought  hither  Lord  Dare,  who  is  the  son  of  Lord 
Selkirk,  and  who  meets  here  by  accident  Paul  Jones.  He 
acknowledges  the  polite  attention  of  Jones  in  the  attack 
on  his  father's  house  in  the  last  war.  Go  from  hence  to 
the  Louvre,  but  Mademoiselle  Duplessis  is  here.  Madame 
tells  me  that  the  entours  of  the  King  have  resigned,  that 
those  of  the  Queen  will  resign,  and  that  she  has  hopes  of 
being  placed  near  Her  Majesty.  I  wish  this  may  happen. 
She  tells  me  that  she  has  written  to  d'Angeviliers  to 
travel,  having  obtained  the  assurance  that  in  such  case  it 
shall  be  no  question  of  him.  De  Curt  comes  in,  and  after 
staying  a  little  while  I  come  home,  and  read  till  Messieurs 
Bremond  and  Jaubert  call.  The  Jacobins  are  in  treaty 
with  the  Quatre-vingt-neufs*  for  an  alliance.  The  object 
is  to  prevent  a  decree  rendering  the  present  members  in 
eligible  for  the  succeeding  Assembly.  After  they  leave  me 
I  go  very  sleepy  to  bed." 

"  M.  Bremond  comes   [April  2ist]   to  tell  me  what  had 
passed  at  the  Jacobins',  etc.     Dress,  ride  with  Mr.  Short, 

*  The  Club  of  '89,  which  Morris  here  alludes  to  as  the  Quatre-vingt- 
neuf,  was  a  dismemberment  of  that  of  the  Jacobins.  Malouet  and  some 
of  his  friends,  becoming  alarmed  at  the  extreme  tendencies  of  the  Club  des 
Jacobins,  conceived  the  plan  of  forming  a  rival  society,  which  they  accordingly 
did  in  April,  1790.  The  schismatics  installed  themselves  in  superb  apartments 
in  the  Palais  Royal,  under  the  name  of  the  Club  of '89.  It  would  seem  that  the 
new  club  was  by  no  means  uncorrupt,  when  Sieyes  could  exclaim,  in  an  ac 
cess  of  virtuous  brutality,  "  that  with  the  exception  of  two  or  three  Jacobins 
of  whom  I  have  a  horror,  I  like  all  the  members  of  that  club,  and  with  the  ex 
ception  oi  a  dozen  members  among  you  I  distrust  all  of  you."  While  the 
Club  of  '89  enjoyed  their  beautiful  surroundings,  the  old  Jacobin  Club  of  the 
Rue  St.  Honore  manufactured,  by  the  light  of  their  flambeaux,  the  means  to 
push  the  Revolution  to  its  completion. 


and  then  call  on  Madame  de  Flahaut,  with  whom  I  have 
some  conversation  on  political  affairs.  Dine  with  the 
British  ambassadress.  We  are  en  famille.  She  is  a  very 
pleasing  woman.  Visit  Madame  de  Nadaillac.  Every 
thing  here  is  filthy.  The  weather  is  rainy.  Lafayette's 
resignation  makes  much  noise.  It  is  probable  that  he 
will  reaccept,  in  which  case  he  will  be  worse  than  ever. 
At  the  Louvre,  Madame  de  Flahaut  has  with  her  a  con 
fidant  of  De  La  Porte,  who  comes  to  communicate  the  in 
tention  of  the  King  to  employ  monsieur  ;  but  she  will  write 
a  note  to  decline  it,  containing  very  good  advice  for  His 
Majesty.  I  tell  her  she  must  give  me  a  copy  of  it.  The 
King's  intention  arose  from  the  request  of  d'Angiviliers. 
Go  to  M.  de  Montmorin's,  and  sit  some  time  with  Madame 
de  Beaumont  and  Madame  de  Montmorin.  A  rising 
thunder-storm  induces  Madame  de  Montmorin  to  express 
some  wishes  not  favorable  to  the  disturbers  of  the  public 
repose.  As  it  is  a  question  whether  Lafayette  will  reac 
cept,  she  expresses  very  just  opinions  on  his  subject  :  that 
his  weakness  has  done  much  mischief  and  prevented  much 
good,  but  that  it  is  better  to  be  swayed  by  weakness  than 
by  wickedness,  and  that  his  successor  would  probably  be 
one  of  those  who  mean  most  illy.  After  dinner  I  speak  to 
Montmorin,  who  has  done  nothing  in  the  business.  I  com 
municate  to  him  the  cause  of  the  intended  coalition  be 
tween  the  Quatre-vingt-neufs  and  Jacobins.  He  tells  me 
that  he  could  have  got  the  exclusive  decree  passed  long 
ago  if  he  would,  but  he  was  afraid  of  the  four-years  de 
cree,  which  has  been  nevertheless  adopted.  I  tell  him 
that  if  he  can  get  the  former  now  passed  it  will  be  the 
means  of  splitting  the  Jacobins  and  Quatre-vingt-neufs, 
after  which  they  will  both  be  more  tractable.  I  give  him, 
further,  my  opinion  that  the  King  must  endeavor  to  join 
the  populace.  He  agrees  in  this." 


A  slight  sketch  of  European  politics — from  Morris's 
point  of  view — given  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  John  Inglis,  of  Lon 
don,  just  at  this  time,  is  not  without  interest.  He  says  : 

"  You  ask  my  opinion  of  politics.  It  is  difficult  to  form 
an  opinion,  because  much  depends  on  the  opinion  of  oth 
ers,  which  is  fluctuating.  Your  Court  are  in  honor  bound 
to  support  the  Turk,  because  you  egged  him  on  to  the  war 
in  which  he  has  been  so  abominably  mauled.  The  Em 
press  can  hardly,  I  think,  wish  to  possess  herself  of  Con 
stantinople,  because  she  would  hardly  dream  of  holding 
such  extensive  dominion,  not  to  mention  the  blood  and 
treasure  she  must  expend  for  the  acquisition.  I  think, 
however,  that  she  must  be  more  or  less  than  human  if  she 
does  not  wish  to  make  you  repent  of  your  various  aggres 
sions.  I  think  she  can  do  this  with  infinite  ease.  A  dec 
laration  of  war  will  necessarily  put  you  to  great  expense. 
She  has  no  trade.  Many  thousand  beggars  and  vagabonds 
will  joyfully  accept  her  permission  to  pillage.  The  idea 
of  going  to  Petersburg  seems  to  me  ridiculous.  The  risk 
is  great  and  the  object  small.  To  acquire  Thun  and  Dant- 
zic  for  Prussia  by  tricking  the  Pole  will  do  you  no  good, 
and,  as  far  as  I  can  look  forward  to  futurity,  it  would  tend 
first  to  invigorate  the  government  of  Poland,  and  then  to 
dispossess  Prussia  of  all  that  tract  of  country  which  lies 
between  Russia,  Poland,  and  the  Baltic,  for  it  would  be 
the  interest  of  Russia  and  Austria  to  give  these  to  Poland. 
A  war  with  Russia  will  deprive  you  entirely  of  what  is 
called  the  carrying  trade,  and  will  lay  from  eight  to  ten 
guineas  per  cent,  tax  upon  your  other  trade.  The  first 
mischance  that  happens  will  change  your  ministry,  and 
you  will  easily  get  peace,  because  just  now  nobody  can 
get  anything  by  the  war.  I  think  further  that  the  mani 
fold  blunders  here  open  for  you  a  fair  chance  to  be  inti 
mately  connected  with  America,  if  your  rulers  could  make 


use  of  the  opportunity.     But   prejudice  and  profit  some 
times  stand  in  the  way  of  each  other." 

"  In  going  [April  23d]  to  the  Louvre,  one  of  my  wheels 
comes  off,  and  by  that  means  my  carriage  gets  much  in 
jured.  When  I  reach  the  Louvre  M.  de  Flahaut  meets 
me,  and  complains  that  madame  is  going  to  the  Assembly 
with  M.  Ricy.  She  tells  me  that  she  is  in  a  great  hurry  ; 
M.  de  Montmorin  is  to  read  his  instruction  to  the  foreign 
ministers,  informing  them  that  the  King  has  put  himself 
at  the  head  of  the  Revolution.  I  do  not  see  that  this  can 
be  a  matter  of  much  moment  to  her.  Go  home  and  write 
till  three,  and  then  dine  with  Madame  de  Trudaine.  After 
dinner  monsieur  expresses  himself  in  favor  of  a  republi 
can  government,  which  is  growing  now  to  be  very  fashion 
able.  Endeavor  to  show  him  the  folly  of  such  an  attempt, 
but  I  had  better  have  let  it  alone.  Go  from  hence  to  Ma 
dame  de  Guibert's,  where,  of  course,  I  meet  the  esprit  jacobin. 
Thence  to  Madame  Laborde's.  She  complains  much  of 
the  republican  party,  and  asks  me  why  I  do  not  express 
my  sentiments  to  the  Bishop  of  Autun.  I  tell  her  that  they 
would  have  no  weight,  which  is  true.  Call  on  Madame  de 
Stael,  who  is  denied  to  me  ;  but,  her  servant  being  in  gala, 
I  am  sure  she  is  to  have  company,  and  Montmorency  is  ad 
mitted  at  the  same  moment.  Go  to  visit  the  British  am 
bassadress.  They  have  had  many  English  to  dine,  and 
among  them  General  Dalrymple.  After  a  while  they  go 
to  the  play,  and  I  take  an  opportunity  to  ask  her  ladyship 
when  she  is  most  visible.  She  says  that  Wednesday  was 
her  day,  but  she  has  none  now  in  particular  ;  I  may  rely, 
however,  that  I  shall  always  find  her  at  home  when  she 
really  is  at  home.  In  this  I  am  sure,  by  her  voice  and 
manner,  she  is  sincere,  and  I  reply  in  according  accents. 
She  is  a  charming  woman.  Go  from  hence  to  the  Comte 
de  Montmorin's,  and  have  a  long  and  interesting  conver- 


sation  with  his  wife  on  public  affairs.  Urge,  among  other 
things,  the  advantage  to  be  derived  from  changing  the 
entours  of  the  Queen." 

"  This  morning  [April  25th]  Paine  calls  and  tells  me 
that  the  Marquis  de  Lafayette  has  accepted  the  position 
of  head  of  the  National  Guards." 

The  dramatic  side  of  this  apparent  devotion  to  Lafa 
yette  was  intense  and  thoroughly  French.  Through  the 
rain  and  on  foot  the  Corps  Municipal  went  to  him  and  on 
their  knees  took  oath  to  meet  him  again  at  the  head  of 
the  National  Guards.  But  the  blow  had  been  struck,  this 
oath  of  blind  obedience  was  soon  turned  into  ridicule, 
and  the  battalion  wrhich  first  took  it  was  called  in  derision 
"  Le  bataillon  des  aveugles."  Lafayette's  power,  under  the 
aspersions  of  Marat,  the  cries  of  some  to  beware  of  "Crom 
well,"  and  the  warnings  of  Camille  Desmoulins,  mingled 
with  his  despairing  wail  that  "  Paris,  a  bien  meilleur  droit 
que  la  ville  des  Etats-Unis,  pourrait  s'appeler  Fayette- 
ville,"  was  on  the  downward  road.  Lafayette,  said  I? ami 
du  Peuple,  was  to  be  seen,  in  the  hat  of  a  simple  grenadier, 
going  through  the  cabarets  and  cafes  trying  to  reanimate 
the  soldiers  and  his  dying  popularity. 

"Madame  de  Flahaut,  I  find  [April  26th],  has  not  de 
clined  the  plan  proposed  for  her  husband.  Her  Bishop 
advises  otherwise,  because  the  King  may  make  such  a 
choice  as  that  M.  de  Flahaut  will  not  be  unsuitable  to  the 
rest,  and  because  the  refusal  may  offend  a  weak  mind 
though  founded  on  reasons  which  should  attach.  I  add  a 
reason  which  had  arisen  in  my  mind,  viz.,  that  when  once 
taken  up  the  Court  cannot  again  let  them  fall,  so  that  it 
will  be  a  kind  of  provision  for  her  in  all  events.  Go  and 
sit  with  Madame  de  Segur  some  time.  She  shows  me  the 
letter  from  the  Duke  of  Orleans  to  Madame  de  Chastellux, 
with  the  answer  of  the  latter.  I  find  Lady  Sutherland  at 


Madame  de  StaeTs.  She  tells  me  that  the  Duke  of  Leeds 
has  resigned.  I  express  a  hope,  should  I  stay  some  time 
in  Europe,  to  see  her  at  the  head  of  the  Foreign  Affairs. 
She  says  she  should  like  it  very  much,  but  Lord  Gower  is 
yet  too  young.  I  tell  her  that  two  or  three  years  hence 

he  will  have  acquired  the  tact,  and  then -.     He  comes 

in  just  before  I  leave  this  place,  and  mentions  also  the 
resignation  of  the  Duke.  I  ask  if  Hawkesbury  is  to  suc 
ceed.  He  does  not  know.  He  seems  so  anxious  to  prove 
that  the  Duke's  health  is  the  cause  of  the  resignation  that 
I  cannot  help  assigning  it  in  my  mind  to  some  difference 
in  the  administration.  Visit  Madame  de  Nadaillac,  from 
whom  I  had  received  a  note  complaining  of  neglect.  We 
laugh  and  chatter  and  toy,  and  she  complains  of  my 
want  of  respect,  but  I  think  I  must  be  less  respectful  to 
be  more  agreeable  ;  in  the  course  of  a  little  amorous 
conversation  she  tells  me  that  I  must  not  expect  she 
would  capitulate,  for  she  feels  too  much  her  religious  and 
moral  duties  ;  that  if  she  should,  however,  be  frail,  she 
should  poison  herself  next  morning.  I  laugh  at  this. 
Go  hence  to  M.  de  Montmorin's  to  dinner.  After  dinner 
I  have  a  long  conversation  with  him,  partly  on  political 
affairs.  He  promises  to  speak  to  the  King  on  the  busi 
ness  in  the  course  of  the  week.  He  has  mentioned  it  to 
the  Comte  de  la  Marck,  who  approves.  Among  various 
other  things  I  suggest  an  act  of  oblivion  by  the  Assem 
bly  and  thereon  another  revolution  letter.  He  approves 
much  of  this,  telling  me  that  he  is  now  preparing  a  letter 
from  the  King  to  the  Prince  of  Conde.  I  come  home,  to 
meet  M.  Bremond  and  set  him  to  work  among  the  Jaco 
bins  to  get  the  decree  or  act  of  oblivion  moved  by  them. 

"  Conversing  with  Madame  de  Flahaut  on  affairs  to-day, 
from  wrhat  she  says,  but  more  from  what  she  does  not 
say,  I  find  there  is  a  plan  on  foot  to  force  all  power  from 


the    King   into  the    hands  of   the    present  leaders  of   the 

Opposition.  While  I  am  at  the  Louvre,  Montesquiou 
comes  in,  and  I  remind  him  of  what  I  said  respecting 
their  constitution.  He  begins  to  fear  that  I  was  in  the 
right.  He  asks  how  the  evil  is  to  be  remedied.  I  tell 
him  that  there  seems  to  be  little  chance  for  avoiding  the 
extremes  of  despotism  or  anarchy  ;  that  the  only  ground 
of  hope  must  be  the  morals  of  the  people,  but  that  these 
are,  I  fear,  too  corrupt.  He  is  sure  they  are.  Madame 
told  me  this  morning  that  M.  de  Curt  is  to  be  Minister 
of  the  Marine,  if  the  decree  of  quatre  ans  is  revoked. 
M.  Monciel*  comes  to  see  me,  and  gives  me  an  account 
of  what  he  has  done  with  the  chiefs  of  the  Jacobins. 
He  is  to  have  a  further  conference.  They  think  it 
will  be  best  to  act  in  concert  with  the  Court,  without  ap 
pearing  to  do  so,  lest  thereby  they  should  lose  their  popu 
larity.  I  agree  in  the  propriety  of  this,  and  urge  conform 
ably  to  what  I  suppose  their  views  to  be,  a  repeal  of  the 
decree  des  quatre  ans  and  the  decree  of  re-eligibility.  He 
is  to  propose  this  to  them  and  to  obtain,  if  he  can,  a  list  of 
the  articles  they  desire  ;  also,  if  possible,  of  the  places  they 
aspire  to." 

"We  are  en  famille  at  the  British  ambassador's  to-day 
[April  3oth]  at  dinner.  Cubieres  comes  with  Robert,  and 
they  have  a  collection  of  the  portraits  of  Petite  in  enamel, 
which  are  very  fine.  Go  from  hence  to  the  Louvre. 
Madame  de  Flahaut  is  dressing.  She  tells  me  that  she 

*  M.  Terrier  de  Monciel  belonged  to  a  distinguished  family  of  Franche 
Comte.  He  was  Roland's  successor  as  minister  in  June,  1792,  just  before 
the  catastrophe  of  the  2oth  of  June,  which  he  had  not  foreseen  and  which  it 
would  have  been  impossible  to  prevent,  though  he  did  all  in  his  power,  how 
ever,  to  re-establish  order.  He  said  in  the  National  Assembly,  the  day  after, 
that  "  the  action  against  the  king  should  put  all  France  into  eternal  mourn 
ing."  Forced,  finally,  to  leave  the  ministry,  he  however  remained  in  Paris 
during  the  revolution  of  August  loth,  and  afterward  had  the  good  fortune  to 
escape  the  proscription  of  1793.  He  died  in  September,  1831. 


has  good  hopes  of  succeeding  to  the  place  she  aims  at. 
Sit  a  long  time  with  Madame  de  Foucault  and  Madame  de 
Ricy  ;  afterwards  sup.  When  we  get  into  the  salon  we 
have  a  deal  of  metaphysical  conversation  ;  a  gentleman 
who  has  read  Locke  on  '  The  Human  Understanding ' 
shows  off." 

Firing  of  cannon  and  processions  of  shouting  people, 
giving  expression  to  their  feelings,  were  of  such  common 
occurrence  in  Paris  that  Morris  does  not  even  allude  to 
the  "  Kermesse  de  la  Revolution,"  which  took  place  on 
the  3oth  of  April,  to  celebrate  the  suppression  of  the 
octroi,  when  boats  and  troops  of  wagons,  laden  with  mer 
chandise  and  wine,  which  had  been  waiting  outside  of 
Paris,  came  in  decorated  ;  their  drivers  and  men  in  charge, 
crowned  with  branches,  having  liberally  partaken  of  the 
wine  and  beer  that  they  were  bringing  free  into  the  town. 
It  was  calculated  that  each  tax-payer  gained  about  one 
hundred  livres  by  the  suppression  of  the  octroi,  and  the 
people  were  more  content  \vith  life  on  a  cheaper  basis. 
Commerce,  however,  "the  commerce  of  luxury,  of  use 
less  things,  of  nothing,"  was  dead.  The  carnival  was  for 
bidden,  and  with  it  went  the  support  of  a  vast  army  of 
workers  on  costumes,  notably  in  the  house  of  the  famous 
costumers,  Lambert  et  Renaudin.  There  was  no  longer 
a  nobility  able  and  longing  to  gratify  every  whim  in  art, 
dress,  and  the  nameless  things  that  money  could  be  wasted 
on.  The  Abbe  Maury — and  a  host  like  him — could  no 
longer  indulge  in  the  possession  of  eight  hundred  farms, 
and  delicious  breakfasts  which  he  partook  of  reclining  in 
the  most  beautiful  and  luxurious  of  fauteuils.  The  rich 
bourgeois  were  reduced  to  living  on  the  proceeds  of  what 
they  could  sell.  The  Place  Vendome  was  full  of  people 
demanding  work,  and  caricatures  were  not  wanting  to  en 
force  the  destitution  of  artisans  upon  those  in  power. 


The  patriots  tried  in  vain  to  revive  commerce,  the  papers 
talked  in  vain ;  commerce  had  passed  into  other  countries. 
Vice  grew  like  a  rank  weed,  the  uncertainty